Danica Patrick proved she belonged with the boys.

Her sixth place finish in her first ever NASCAR race was an incredible performance, given the difference between NASCAR and the Indy circuit she normally drives in.

Sure it was second tier NASCAR but many expected her to eat exhaust fumes all the way around. Not so. At one point she scored as high as fifth before eventually finishing a very promising 6th
Danica also proved the critics wrong and gave women sports enthusiasts everywhere a major boost.

“It was a lot of fun,” Irish American Patrick said. “I bumped from the side. I bumped from the front. I got bumped from the back. I learned a lot, and I had so much fun in a race car today. So I

It also impressed Dale Earnhardt's sister Kelley, w“I think she showed us she was able to drive,” Kelley Earnhardt said. “One time I saw her up on the high side, she pulled down low. I kept thinking, ‘Come on, let’s up pull off an Earnhardt. Pass 18 cars in three laps and win this thing."

Patrick has not yet decided if she will compete in the Nationwide opener at Daytona next Saturday.

“I’m really just thinking about today, what I learned and what I can do better,” Patrick said.

So do NASCAR who desperately need a big name to take the sport back to the Earnhardt days.