Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

And the day after Danica Patrick's socko performance, the word at Daytona is......

   In the rush to push Danica Patrick into NASCAR full-time, what about Chevy's looming entry into Indy-car racing: is that a piece to the puzzle to consider? (Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

   By Mike Mulhern



   Jim Campbell, the hyper-active GM racing boss, and happy Twitterer, has some good words about – and for -- Danica Patrick, after watching her come close to winning Friday night's Nationwide 250.
   Is Patrick ready for Cup?

    "I think she has the skill, she has the ability to focus, she has the ability to be aggressive as needed, and settle herself down when she has to," Campbell was saying, while awaiting the start of Saturday night's Coke Zero 400. "She is getting very comfortable out there (on NASCAR tracks).
    "That's the key – you've got to be comfortable out there to be able to be aggressive when you need to. She's getting closer and closer to that.
    "She is a fast learner; that's something we've seen.  
   "And we know from her ability in racing in Indy-car she has nerves, she has the ability to focus.
   "In a number of Nationwide races I've had the opportunity to listen to the dialogue between her and her crew chief, and it keeps getting better and better.
    "Now it's just the matter of a little more experience."
    And does Campbell think she's ready to run a Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway this October?
   "If she were there (Talladega) in a Cup race, I think she'd do quite well," Campbell says.
   That's a pretty good endorsement.
   Patrick herself, though, seems to prefer hemming and hawing about her NASCAR game plans.
   "Whether I'm coming here or not is yet to be signed, sealed and delivered," Patrick says.
   "I might not be. Only time will tell. And that timeline on my side of things, I'm really not sure.
   "All I know is I've been told I've got a job to do in the car, 'and you do your job, and we'll do ours.'
   "They fill me in from time to time.
   "It's still only July.
   "These things are complicated. They take time."
   For GM and Chevrolet, and NASCAR, and her sponsors, Patrick has become a very hot brand….although she hasn't really won much.
   "We have talked with her on a number of occasions, to get to know her a little bit," Campbell says. "And she is absolutely terrific, fantastic in her ability to attract a big fan base."
   That, of course, is key to whatever deal Patrick may be able to get.
   A wild card in the Patrick-to-NASCAR project – Chevrolet's move into Indy-car in 2012.
   Roger Penske has already committed to running Chevrolet engines at Indianapolis next season. (The new Chevy Indy engine is a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 running on E85 ethanol.)
   Given Patrick's still strong interest in running Indy, the Chevy-to-Indy aspect could be key.
   Perhaps Patrick is wrangling for a Chevy ride in the Indy 500, along with any NASCAR package?
   But then if Tony Stewart is the template here, Stewart says it's almost impossible to do both Indy racing and NASCAR successfully. And Stewart insists the idea of running NASCAR and then doing the Indy 500 as a one-off is simply not feasible.
   To which Robby Gordon says otherwise. In fact Gordon says it's easy to put together an Indy-NASCAR program.
   If Patrick wants to win the Indy 500, she could hardly do any better than signing on with Penske for that. And Penske also has two Cup teams, thus with an opening for another Cup driver. However Penske's NASCAR operation is with Dodge.
   How any Penske-Patrick deal might work is problematic.
   Patrick's current NASCAR deal is with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports, with its Rick Hendrick Chevy engineering. Earnhardt says he's got no plans to step up to becoming a Cup owner. Hence, speculation is that Patrick could be considering a NASCAR deal with Tony Stewart, who also has Hendrick engineering. And what Stewart might think if Patrick wanted an Indy 500 clause in a contract?   
   You can see how putting all these pieces together could be difficult….particularly in light of the fact that it's still not at all clear that Patrick really understands how time-intensive running the full NASCAR tour is.  
    And, despite hearing the same round of questioning every time she drops down into NASCAR country, Patrick still seems uncertain as to what she really wants to do.
    The answer to the NASCAR question, she says, "comes down to my gut and my desire, and where I feel I'll be the happiest, and where I feel like I'll be able to have the most success.
    "And then from those thoughts my team explores the options.
    "I feel bad giving you the same answers over and over again. But there's really not much of a story."
    And she says she has no plans to do any Cup races this year, though testing might be an option.
    Her next NASCAR start is the Montreal Nationwide race August 20th.
    Campbell: "She is getting off to a good start, and Friday night was another great example…but there is still a lot to learn about racing in Nationwide and Cup.
    "But she's getting her feet under her, she's getting more comfortable with her crew chief.
    "She says she's still trying to make her final decision on what she wants to do.
    "She does have affiliation with Chevrolet, which we really love. Her appeal to a wide audience is incredible, and we like that at Chevy a lot. We'll see where that ends up.
    "She's still working through a lot of details on the other end (Indy racing), if she decides to do that (NASCAR). She'll set the cadence about when she makes a move.
   And how might the sale of sponsor Go Daddy affect Patrick's racing?
   "Will that affect my relationship with them? I don't know. It might not change anything; it might change everything," she says.


   Chevrolet's Jim Campbell (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)




Be careful what you wish for NASCAR. I understand the desire NASCAR has in bringing Danica to cup full-time. They believe that Danica will give them a boost in ratings and popularity, but is she really worthy of all this attention. I have no isssue with Danica wanting to come to NASCAR, but I have an issue with the cheerleading and unobjective coverage by the media. Lets look at the fact before we proclaim her the next best thing since "slice bread."
She is a midpack Indycar driver that has one win due to fuel milage and that was back in 2007 (think of her as the Junior of Indycar). She is the most recognised driver in Indycar, but not the most respected or liked amoung actual race fans. She brings a lot of resentment amoung her teammates due to the love affair by the press (Dario, Wheldon, TK, etc). Danica needs a perfect car to be fast something that I have yet to see too often in NASCAR. She will bring the car home, but unless it is handling perfect she will cruise around. Anyone can do well at a Superspeedway. Look at Micheal Waltrip, he made a career out it. Regan and Trevor win the last two races at Daytona and their are twenthy two different leaders at the last race. Can anyone in the media tell me with a straight face that it's not total luck at these tracks? Danica running well at Daytona is no litmus test in being able to run anywhere else. So lets keep the praise in perspective.
So, Do I think Danica is coming to NASCAR? Yes, and for several reasons. Money, she can make a lot more being in triple A NASCAR then in Indycar. NASCAR is safer. The Indycar is a flying coffin. Danica already had one team mate killed in her rookie season and all you have to do is look at Simona or Mike Conway last year to know that one mistake can be lights out. NASCAR is not as physically demanding as an Indycar. The G-forces and strength required in Indycar is much more demanding then in a stock car. Length of career is much higher in a NASCAR then in Indycar. Mark Martin is still competative in his 50's while an Indycar driver is all but done at 40.
As long as Danica is allowed to drive at Indy once a year and she is given the best equipment available then she is going to NASCAR. It's a shame that many good young drivers in NASCAR will not get that chance, but in the age of ride buyers it is all down to sponsership and Danica can bring a lot to a team. I wish her luck, but Sam, Dario, Juan, AJ, Scott, Robby were all better open wheelers then her and how has it worked out for them.

why would private equity (PE):

From the email-bag:
one reader questions why a private equity (PE) firm, like KKR (buying into GoDaddy), would be at all interested in spending money in nascar...and thus questions any continued sponsorship of danica patrick:

"You know I don't know too many PE company owned businesses in racing. PE companies buy entities like Godaddy for the cash flow (all those bulk domain registrations mean good monthly cash flow) and slash costs. Like the godaddy employees talking about the future usually don't have one when the cost cutters come in.

"I've always wondered why godaddy was/is in racing; domain registration is a very niche market, something NASCAR-related marketing doesn't provide a good ROI. Any growth is incremental, not prone to huge jumps like with a mass consumer product or service. But if the boss like racing it was/is a good expenditure.

"We can find out six months after the deal closes to see how and where godaddy is spending the marketing dollar.

"Yea, I use godaddy, but then I can explain DNS. Your typical godaddy customer. Not cause they are in racing, but for onesie/twoise TLD registration they are the cheapest. But the value added services aren't that cheap or solid."

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com