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Danica in NASCAR? At the moment it's looking like a very good bet....despite some owners' skepticism

Danica Patrick can't hide in a crowd (Photo: Indy Racing League)

   By Mike Mulhern

   BROOKLYN, Mich.
   Danica Patrick will be in NASCAR next season.
   If NASCAR executives can pull it off.
   George Pyne -- the former NASCAR Chief Operating Officer, and thus one of the top officials in stock car racing, and now head of IMG sports and entertainment, the high-buck talent marketing agency – and key NASCAR executives are together working the entire Sprint Cup garage trying to put together a package for Patrick to run NASCAR next season.
   Finding sponsorship is quite likely not the big issue, as hot a property as Danica Patrick is.
   And Geoff Smith, who runs Roush Fenway Racing for Ford's Jack Roush, says he's pretty confident she could do the job in one of these awkward stockers…eventually.
   But what would the game plan look like for her?
   And how to package everything for her, that's the big stumbling block: How long a contract, two years, three years? How much money?
   And then Patrick would have to prove she's serious about a NASCAR venture and willing to commit to the program…which would naturally include a heck of a lot of laps.
   Would Patrick be willing to follow Juan Pablo Montoya's footsteps and run ARCA for a while? Montoya is so good a driver that he made the leap from ARCA to Cup very swiftly…but he did spend considerable time in the minors. Would Patrick accept that?
   Would Patrick be willing to follow Tony Stewart's example and run a couple of years of Nationwide?
   Would Patrick be willing to follow Ryan Newman's ABC game plan, a mixture of ARCA, Busch (Nationwide) and Cup?
   Would Patrick be willing to endure the agony that IRL-transplant Sam Hornish Jr. has endured?
    Smith and Roush have expressed an interest in signing Patrick at times the past two years.
   But Smith indicates he senses that Patrick may be working this garage and these team owners perhaps a little too avariciously, and perhaps with not enough consideration for just how hard this part of the sports business really is.
   "IMG is representing her and taking her around to all the teams in the NASCAR garage….in an opportunity search for her," Smith says.
   "But it's a little unclear to everybody whether this is a trial balloon, for evaluation….
    "However she's a very exciting personality, because of her popularity, and a very competitive attitude, and she's very physically fit – probably more fit than half the guys in this garage and on par with the other part….
   "But it's not about 'a test.'
   "In our opinion she needs to be in a program that runs her a lot of laps. She has to be a full-time lap-gatherer….and then work on making the transition.
   "It would be a very difficult scenario."
   However this season the number of teams failing to qualify is shrinking dramatically. Only one driver here, for example, didn't make the Friday cut.
   So Patrick shouldn't have any trouble qualifying for Cup races.
   But Smith says there is more to the issue: "The thing that makes careers is being successful at every level you're in.
   "Learning how to Cup race, by running in the back of the field and wrecking every week, is not the way to do it.
   "Even the great ones here needed some grounding. Like Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya. So she would need a plan.
   "And sponsors are still only going to pay to a certain level, no matter who you are…..so a team owner would have to be certain of her commitment. We don't want to get stuck being out of pocket for $5 million a year down the line.
   "But Danica has a great resume, and more -- she's a great competitor, and has a great personality.
   "However we don't know how it all might play out."

How serious is Danica Patrick about driving in NASCAR? Or is she just playing the field? (Photo: Indy Racing League)





Danica Can't Race

Danica has had the best cars in IRL throughout her career and didn't do anything with them. Why would anyone want her in Winston Cup? She can't race.

NASCAR has gone through Janet Guthrie, Robin McCall, Shawna Robinson, Pattie Moise, Sarah Fisher (remember her ill-fated Winston West run in RCR cars?), and Deborah Renshaw - all got rides because they were women, all proved to be frauds. Danica Patrick is a fraud and needs to be kept out.

Danica CAN race.....

That's kind of an ignorant reply STP43FAN, and shows that you know little about the IRL. Maybe you should stick to stock cars. Danica has NOT had "the best cars in the IRL" her whole career. Danica has not been on a top 3 tean prior to AGR, and in IRL racing that means there are at least 9 guys with better equipment than you have at every single race. In spite of that, Patrick has steadily improved in every statistic that indicates a drivers progress and maturity, every single year she has driven in the IRL. This year is no exception,currently sitting 5th in points, with 4 straight top 5 finishes, including a 3rd at Indy. She is a very smart driver who doesn't break equipment, and finishes a high percentage of races. Danica Patrick has already proven that she is a whole other level, compared to those women you mentioned. Meaning no disrespect for those ladies, Put her on a track with those women and the result would be downright comical. Sarah Fisher is probably the closest, and she is already on the same track with Danica regularly. The results speak for themselves.

I hope she stays in the IRL, because she WILL win Indy in the next few years and she WILL win a championship if she gets signed by Ganassi or Penski. Can she muscle 3500 pound cars with half the tire around ? Who knows, that may take physical stature that a 100 lb woman simply doesn't have. Just don't make the ignorant statement that the woman can't drive, because that is bull crap.

Yeah but

look at that face, that face can sell an eskimo a refrigerator, a chevy guy a ford, a toyota to my son, a warm beer to a guy in the 3rd row, and we havent even mentioned those legs yet. she dont have to drive, or win, just show up and smile. even the best driver in the business doesnt drive long without the sponsor.

LOL: I couldn't have said it

LOL: I couldn't have said it better myself. You get my drift: look at all the pretty boys in NASCAR today.....they show up and talk the game, and Sundays they're running 16th....but they're back the next week. I say put her in a car, let her do what she can, and let's all have some fun with it. wanna buy a Danica teeshirt? anybody that can draw 5 million hits on google can sell a ticket or two, you think?
you go girl!

Wow, Old-Timer, wake up and

Wow, Old-Timer, wake up and smell the cappuccino! Danica has talent. No one is calling her a front-runner, but take a look around in the Sprint field... lots of guys with NO wins! There are still a bunch of males wash-outs that are still driving.

Since you still refer to the series as Winston Cup, well, that pretty much it all. Fortunately most race fans are more progressive, and welcome drivers from all walks of life.

I look forward to Danica and Alli, too!

Don't forget her temper

Don't forget. NASCAR needs personality conflicts. Just imagine her stomping down pit road to "discuss" Kyle Busch's driving style! Whoo-HOO!

or mud-wrassling junior on

or mud-wrassling junior on the back stretch of daytona, yeah

Sick of the "NEW" Nascar

Stands are empty and sales down? Not just because of the economy but because real "fans" are sick of all the Hollywood hoopla going on at every race. It's getting to be as fake and full of it as wrestling is. Speaking as a woman, people shouldn't assume because she's a woman we will all want her to win. Nascar is just trying to gain more of a fan-base since it didn't work with rich folks out West with their wine tasting, and trying to gain more ethnic drivers and fans. The more change Nascar does, the less the fans show, so maybe it's time to stop trying so hard and go back to the way it was. Real cars with drivers who crash out and bump draft, don't take any crap from other drivers. Nascar has brought in the pretty boy drivers to change the look of the sport and from a sales point of view, they are sucking at it.

Formula 1 ???

She missed out on an F1 test when Honda pulled out last year.
If the new All American USGP F1 team doesn't test her, neither Danica or race fans will ever know how good she is.

To call her a fraud is pure ignorance....she's good, but how good?

Only Formula 1 can showcase proper racing talent in the best purpose built race cars on the planet...and it's been a long time since America produced a decent F1 racer.
Can she go toe to toe with the really big boys?.....hope so.
Nascar will still be there when her F1 career comes to an end.

No Way

No One will sign her without running some truck/nationwide/arca etc to see if she can adapt to heavier cars. And I seriously doubt she is willing to do that. How long do you think all the hoopla would last when she couldn't even stay in the top 35...oh sure, maybe qualify on time, but that won't mean much to just make the races when she finishes near last.

Geesh...do any of you actually watch motorsports? Look at the difficulty Sam Hornish has had and he was way better than her in IRL. Look at how tough a time Dario had last year and he is better than her in IRL. In fact go back thru history, and nearly the only open wheel drivers that ended up having success in cup also had something she dosen't....DIRT EXPERIENCE. Without lower tier laps, and a LOT of them, there is no chance she could stay on the lead lap at ANY cup race. Cold hard fact.

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