Danica Patrick, Anna Kournikova of Racing, to Host the ESPYs

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Danica Patrick has accomplished a lot of “firsts,” among women, in the history of auto racing. She’s the first woman to: lead laps at the Indianapolis 500, finish in the top five at the Indy 500, secure pole position in a NASCAR Cup Series race, gain the pole in the Daytona 500 and win a race in a North American open wheel series. However, her actual accomplishments are still nowhere close to the level with which she’s been marketed, promoted or covered by the media.

It’s not really her fault, but what she’s done on the track, throughout her whole career, hasn’t lived up to her hype. Of course, who among us wouldn’t turn down all the endorsements, publicity and money that has come her way? There’s nothing wrong with taking all the opportunities that she’s been offered, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.

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Now, on the eve of her retirement from racing, she becomes the first woman to ever host an ESPYs. It’s fitting, as the ESPYs are mostly about hype and empty calories as well.

In the immortal words of Kent Brockman, “this barely qualifies as news.”

Nothing about the ESPYs is ever actually news, to anyone except ESPN, no matter how hard ESPN pushes it on the rest of us, trying to package it as actual news. Because, as well know, ESPN loves nothing more than some ESPN.

Patrick will take the ESPYs stage in July 18 in Los Angeles. On Sunday, she will race for the final time at the Indianapolis 500, and her odds of success are extremely long. Odds Shark lists 22 drivers, and she is not among them. Danica Patrick is relegated to “the field” status, with the rest of the long shot drivers, and this bet is backed at +2000

For what it’s worth, she led 19 laps and finished fourth at the Indy 500 in 2005. Still, when her career ends this weekend, she will no doubt finish out with a legacy that’s essentially “the Anna Kournikova of racing.”

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Getting back to the major league nothing burger that is the ESPYs, a statement attributed to Patrick reads: “My first ESPYS was 2005, and I have been a fan, coming back every year since.”

“It’s going to be a great night and one full of more than a few surprises.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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