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Juan Pablo Montoya's take: on Danica Patrick

   Even the versatile Juan Pablo Montoya says it's difficult making the transition from one type of race to another (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   FONTANA, Calif.
   Danica, Danica, that's all anyone seems to want to talk about.
   How much money will she make in NASCAR?
   How much sponsorship can she bring?
   Will she really wind up driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick in Chevrolets?
   Well, Juan Pablo Montoya, after his own successful stints in Indy-cars and then Formula One, and now in the thick of the battle for this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, says he's got a few words of warning for Danica Patrick:
   Either stay in the Indy Racing League and forget NASCAR….or leave the IRL and go NASCAR full bore.
   Don't try both, Montoya says.
   "I wouldn't be driving both cars, to be honest," Montoya says. "I just wouldn't.
    "I wouldn't do it because they drive so different.
    "You're going to get comfortable in one thing, and then you're going to make it to the other thing -- and every time it's going to be like night- and-day.
    "When I drive the 24 Hours (in Grand-Am sports cars) and I get to Daytona (for the 500) it feels really weird….and I've been driving stock cars for three years now.
    "I do two test days and the race (the 24 Hours)…and then come back for the 500 and it feels really weird to drive again.
     "So, I wouldn't drive both."


  Jimmie Johnson says Danica Patrick needs seat time inside full-body cars...a lot of seat time (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   And Jimmie Johnson agrees with Montoya: "That is a valid point to make.
    "I believe she has that opportunity just to run stock cars exclusively.
    "I think the overall thing she's trying to accomplish -- and I think what everybody is eventually getting at -- is that seat time is everything to learn these cars and learn these tracks.
   "She may have raced on these tracks but not in a closed-body vehicle.
    "So it boils down to seat time.
     "Just not to be in a hurry.
    "And drive anything with a body on it: ARCA, Truck, Nationwide, Cup.
    "Hit some walls.
     "It is tough because she is obviously going to have a big spot light on her.
    "But hit walls, tear up equipment, make mistakes…You have to go through that. You cannot short-cut that aspect.
    "It doesn't matter if you are Juan Pablo, who has been an F1 driver, coming in or a guy coming from a local short track -- You have to go through those experiences to learn."  

   Carl Edwards says his advice for Patrick is simple: "The biggest thing would just be patience. The races are very long, the competition is so close... that if you go out there and get impatient, or try too hard, that's a sure-fire way to disaster. It's just patience. It will take time, no matter how good someone is. Coming from another discipline to this, that’s a huge step."


   Hey, Danica: Isn't it about time you weighed in on all this stuff too. Everybody has something to say about Danica Patrick in NASCAR....except Danica. Now she wouldn't be afraid of us NASCAR pit bulls, would she? (Photo: Indy Racing League)


How in the world would

How in the world would Montoya AND Jimmie Johnson know? Neither guy has ever tried to run both series at the same time.

You want to ask somebody about this, ask Tony Stewart and Sam Hornish Jr, both of whom have experience doing what Danica is looking at doing. Running full-time in the IRL, part-time in Nascar and see what they say.


I don't know why she's

I don't know why she's thinking about NASCAR. Right now she a big fish in a medium-sized pond. She's a media superstar. She's making big bucks from numerous sponsorship deals. She got all this by being a mediocre driver in a quasi-major level league, racing only 17 weeks a year.
If she moves to NASCAR, she's stepping down. By most indications, she'd have to run a year (or more?) in the Nationwide series. Some say she'd have to race trucks or ARCA before that. What happens after a year when she's still getting beat by Jason Leffler and Steve Wallace? She races 35-race season or two on the Nationwide circuit? Will her big-time sponsors stick with her through that?
It would be like Michael Jordan playing minor league baseball... wait. Nevermind.

"It would be like Michael

"It would be like Michael Jordan playing minor league baseball" - Decklid

Nice analogy.

She needs all the seat time

She needs all the seat time she can get in ARCA/Nationwide, at least two years worth, before even attempting anything in Cup. She would be a huge draw for NASCAR, but she's got to have a lot of patience and do it the right way. None of this running both series simultaneously crap. Personally I'd like to see her make the move.

Montoya is right on this. If

Montoya is right on this. If Danica is interested in stock car racing, she needs a year running as many stock car races as she can. There is no point in her doing both except for the Indy 500. After all, few watch IRL racing except for the Indy 500 anyway. By running all the IRL races, she is wasting her time if she plans to move to nascar. Sponsorship is the key and the godaddy.com connection shows where she is heading.

If she is a mediocre driver,

If she is a mediocre driver, then she can be one at the major league level. Danica will still be a media superstar, probably even a bigger one if she makes the move to NASCAR. I'm not debating her talent or success to this point, but she would get sponsors without a doubt. Danica could get sponsors that don't even consider NASCAR or racing, that appeal to women such as cosmetics companies, department stores, and clothing/fashion. Jason Leffler and Steve Wallace can beat her on the track, but they aren't going to match her sponsor dollar drawing power. Junior's sponsors are sticking with him, and he's won one race in the last two seasons. Junior was one of the Top 10 endorsement sports figures in 2007 (#5).

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