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Is there a Jack Roush Ford in Danica Patrick's NASCAR future?

Roush says Danica can make it in NASCAR "if she really wants it" (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   SONOMA, Calif.
   Danica Patrick will be in a Jack Roush NASCAR Ford next season, bank on it.
   Well, don't bet the ranch, but there is a growing sense that that is the momentum on the issue, if the sexy Indy-car star does make the leap into stock car racing, as she has hinted. And in the NASCAR garage here at Infineon Raceway Roush himself pondered the Danica option Friday.
   Patrick herself has been talking around the NASCAR possibility for several weeks now but insists she won't be making any announcement of where she'll be racing next season until this fall.
   Patrick in a Roush Ford?
   Hey, what really are Patrick's NASCAR options, if she wants to be able to win? Rick Hendrick's operation is full, and so is Richard Childress', and Chevrolet doesn't appear in any mood to spend more money in NASCAR, less if anything.
    Joe Gibbs? Well, there's room….but Patrick's persona is, ah, probably not quite in keeping with Gibbs' rather staid approach to life. Can't quite see Patrick half-undressed as Ms. July on a Joe Gibbs Racing calendar.
   Tony Stewart and Danica? Well, now that might quite a pair….but Stewart and his men are overachieving at the moment with their new two-car team and would be wise not to expand quite yet, general manager Bobby Hutchens agrees.
   A Toyota option? Well, Team Red Bull could easily expand, and Patrick is certain a vivid piece of 'extreme sports,' which Dietrich Mateschitz' Austrian company likes to promote. But the NASCAR operation itself is still a bit ragged around the edges; Brian Vickers, 17th in the standings, still hasn't won since joining the team a few years ago; and teammate Scott Speed, 36th in the standings, seems a bit shell-shocked by the pace of this sport in his rookie season.
   Ergo, Roush.
   Last weekend Geoff Smith, head of Roush Fenway Racing, talked about the Danica Patrick option.
   What does Roush himself think about her as NASCAR stocker?
    "I don't know enough about her to know how much time she'd have to spend in the Nationwide series or Truck series," Roush said.
    "I'd say, as a minimum, two years in the Nationwide series would be required…and at the same time she could run six or seven Cup races, to maintain her rookie status."
   And probably some Indy-car stuff too.
   Hey, maybe Indy's Tony George would move the starting time for the 500 to let her try the 500-600 double….
   "It just depends on how badly she wants it," Roush says of any Patrick move into NASCAR.
   "This is not an easy thing to do. The cars are very difficult. The competitors are very difficult. The competition is tough. The way the schedule of races is organized is full of minefields. (For example, last weekend the tour ran in Detroit, this week San Francisco, next week in New Hampshire, and the week after that in Daytona.)
    "And there are a lot of things you have to ground yourself on, to have the judgment to negotiate a race and get the result that your talent and equipment might dictate…or deserve.
   "Two years grounding might be minimum. But then Tony Stewart, though he took two years (in Busch), probably didn't need it. And Carl Edwards didn't need it; we got less than a year on him, and Kurt Busch (before moving up to Cup).
   "She may be able to do that. But I suspect she won't. But then most of the male drivers haven't been able to do that either. It's an aberration for someone to come in as quickly as Carl and Kurt."
   But Patrick has some big advantages, Roush points out: "I don't know of any problems with Danica Patrick. If a female is going to make it in NASCAR in the foreseeable future, it will be Danica Patrick.
   "She has an edge on her, which is good.
   "And someone said she has the best finishing average of anyone in the Indy 500. The last four years she's been sixth or better…and that speaks volumes."
   Jimmie Johnson: "If she wants to come racing in NASCAR, I certainly welcome her. I think she'd do a lot for our sport. I definitely think she needs to spend some time racing stock cars and understanding what stock cars are about at these tracks. It would just be unfair to her to show up and be in a Cup ca,r if that was the case, and have to worry about qualifying and all of the other issues that come along. But she is a talented race car driver that would do a lot for NASCAR. So I would welcome her, and I hope that's the case."
     Juan Pablo Montoya, who made the jump from Indy-cars to Formula 1 and now to NASCAR, says it's hard to tel how well Patrick might do here:
"You would think that if she was at Hendrick then she would run well...but you look at a guy like Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has experience and has won races and is struggling right now -- at Hendrick.  Equipment really helps and background really helps, but you will struggle."

Jack Roush and Danica Patrick make a NASCAR deal? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



We're assuming that she'll

We're assuming that she'll want to come to NASCAR and that NASCAR should even WANT her here. I'm not ready to make either assumption. She is a talentless swimsuit model who got superior racecars and did less with them than her teammates. The whole "she'll bring in more sponsors" argument would only work if it were happening in IRL, and it isn't.

Oh, come on now. She wants to

Oh, come on now. She wants to play the what-if game in these contract negotiations, and I'm just saying let's call her hand and make her give NASCAR a try. If she's really a racer, she'll be up for the challenge. Look at Montoya, look at Hornish. I think Jack Roush ought to run her in one of those gong shows and see what she can do. And if she backs down from this NASCAR challenge, then write her off.
Besides, look at Sunday's starting lineup, and tell me how many of these guys are really that much better -- either on a race track or in marketing pzzazz. This is showbusiness as much as sport; i think she's got both. But it's up to her prove it....or fold the hand and go home. You're not afraid she might show up somebody around here, are you LOL

STP, I don't know why you are

STP, I don't know why you are so hostile toward Danica, but your claim that she is "talentless" and has done less with superior cars than her teammates is verifiably false. Allow me to set the record straight so that this discussion can be based on facts instead of personal attacks. I refer you to the following stats, which can be found on indycar.com:

Danica's current points position: 5th (best among the 4 AGR teammates, and behind only the Penske and Ganassi "superteams" who have dominated almost every race for the last two years).

Danica's finish in 2009 Indy 500: 3rd (best among the AGR drivers)

Her 2008 points finish: 6th (2nd among the 4 AGR drivers, behind only Tony Kanaan and the Penske and Ganassi drivers)

The only two AGR drivers to win races in 2008: Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan, with 1 win each. No AGR driver has won in 2009.

I could list more, but my post is already too long. If you are going to post, please confine your comments to subjects that you know something about. That apparently does not include Danica Patrick or the IndyCar Series.

I'm not registered on this site, but for the sake of future discussion, you can refer to me as FACTSFAN. Thanks.

It just goes to show that for

It just goes to show that for Jack Roush and Geoff Smith it's all about show business and NOT racing.

hey, nascar is filled with

hey, nascar is filled with 'celebrities' who aren't winning race car drivers, wouldn't you say (LOL).

STPfan, before you write off

STPfan, before you write off Danica you might take a look at the ICS standings. She's fifth in the points, ahead of every driver in the series except for the Penske and Ganassi teams that are so far ahead of the competition it is unreal. Also, if you don't think she's bringing in more sponsors you must not have seen the involvement of Peak or GoDaddy. Motorola came back as a full time sponsor because of her, too.

The real question is whether or not she wants the hassle of the grind of the NASCAR schedule and the endless sponsor commitments that come with it.

First off, to all the

First off, to all the comments saying that she isn't a good driver, learn what your talking about. Danica had very, very few DNF's, throughout her entire career and has top tens in almost every race. At Indianapolis she has been in top ten all her years as a driver there, had broke record books and made history time after time, and has ALWAYS performed as a DRIVER. Look beyond your hormones that it's a "mans sport" and that she only belongs in sports illustrated. You say that she's not even good for a marketing scheme, but helllo, you know her through her marketing, don't you?! Go Daddy stripping commercial, SI, Playboy, all of it. You know her for it, from it. Therefore; it has worked.. Shes got the pretty face, the man's attitude and whether you want to believe it or not, the talent of a good driver. She's a woman stepping up and playing with the big boys. She's a woman and she's stepped into your world, Get over it. But more importantly, Get used to it. Danica isn't going anywhere out of Motor Sports any time soon.

She's a woman stepping up and

She's a woman stepping up and playing with the big boys. She's a woman and she's stepped into your world, Get over it. But more importantly, Get used to it. Danica isn't going anywhere out of Motor Sports any time soon.


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