seeing that this thread has become a general racing forum instead of just NASCAR (I enjoy Formula 1 and Champcar), I'll add my 2 cents.
I think Danica is over-hyped just because she is a female and not because of her performance. She's done well at Indy and in Japan, but otherwise she is consistently a mid-packer. Granted, she's a rookie and learning the tracks (except for Milwaukee where she raced twice before in lower leagues. I had high expectations, but she crashed), but she is not deserving of more attention than, say Dan Wheldon. Anyone who's followed her career knows she hasn't won in any form of racing for 8 years!
If the media wants to jump on a female race driver, then they should look at Katherine Legge who's won 3 times this year in Toyota Atlantics (where, incidently Miss Patrick raced for the past 2 years) as a rookie. There's alsoErin Crocker, Leilani Munther (who's a Catherine Zeta-Jones look-alike), or Angelle Sampey, to name a few.