I don't remember this kind of reaction to Janet Guthrie when she ran at Indy years ago or Sarah Fisher for that matter.
Well, I do remember Janet Guthrie getting some press for her Indy racing, however that was before the 24 news cycle and the multitude of news and sports channels, along with the Internet (you know, that place we go for our forums). Sarah Fisher came along in Indy Car when there was still some turmoil and she never had the top equipment that Danica has. I believe Sarah is still fielding a car, as an owner though. She was a pretty good Sprintcar racer, both on dirt and pavement before she moved on to Indy Car.
There has been a lot more marketing built around Danica than many of the previous female Indy car or NASCAR drivers. She has had a long association with Go Daddy and her Superbowl commercials are among the most watched. She obviously has talent, Tony Stewart is not the type to have a driver in his cars if they can't perform and while NASCAR is a business, Tony is a racer.
The fact that many of the fastest cars in qualifying last Sunday had Hendrick Motorsports engines and Chevrolet cars seem to have a little more speed, leads me to think that Danica has been fortunate to have the right car owner and team behind her and not some "help" from NASCAR. She still had to drive that car around the race track!