Blog Entry

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

Posted on: August 30, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 11:23 am

(Indy Car has abandoned most tracks that provided this kind of incredible racing)

By Pete Pistone

Put yourself in Danica Patrick’s shoes for a minute, and for the sake of this conversation make them her driving shoes and not the stilettos from one of her GoDaddy commercials. 

If you had the chance to move from Indy Car to NASCAR wouldn’t you do so in a heartbeat? 

The truthful answer is without hesitation. 

The opportunity for Patrick in the land of stock car racing far outweighs anything she could imagine to accomplish by sticking with the current American open wheel scene. NASCAR offers her the chance to build her brand greater than it is today, generate untold millions in marketing and sponsorship, become an even larger worldwide star and to race in the most competitive form of automobile racing in this country. 

It’s an obvious no brainer. 

Though no one expects Patrick to jump right into the role of favorite for next year’s Nationwide Series title, there is no reason to believe she can’t be in the mix for a win or two. 

In just a limited amount of time Patrick already has a fourth place finish at Las Vegas earlier this season to her credit as well as coming pretty darn close to winning last Fourth of July weekend at Daytona. 

Those who doubt her ability are making a big mistake. It’s pretty evident she can drive a racecar and also apparent the more time she spends focusing on her stock car career the better she gets. 

That’s do in no small part to the Nationwide super team Patrick has aligned herself with at JR Motorsports. With Hendrick Motorsports support and engines along with the mentor combo platter of Tony Eury Jr. and Sr., Patrick’s No. 7 Chevrolet is one of the premier rides in NASCAR’s number two division.

Compare the situation to the one she has in the Indy Car series as a member of Andretti AutoSport. While Michael Andretti’s team isn’t a fly by night organization by any means, it isn’t on par with the powerhouses at Penske and Ganassi who have teamed up to win ten of the season’s first fifteen races. 

The difference between the haves and the have nots in Indy Car racing is pretty significant and right now Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi are the major players with the dominant teams. Everyone else, including Andretti’s operation, which does have multiple victories this season, runs for scraps.  

Now look at the situation Patrick finds herself in the Nationwide Series where JR Motorsports is on par with the KHI, Roush Fenway and Penske organizations, the expected cream of next year’s series crop.

When Patrick does finally bid farewell to her Indy Car career, with the possible exception of potential Indy 500 starts, she’ll deal the struggling series a major blow. 

Series officials continue to put on a brave face that the circuit can both survive and prosper without their most famous competitor. 

"I wish her well," said Indy Car CEO Randy Bernard. "We would love for her to stay, but my job is to build the Indy Car Series with the drivers that are here. I'm very excited about the opportunity because I don't believe our ratings or our attendance will decrease without her." 

I admire what Bernard has tried to do in his short tenure at the helm of the series but I’m hard pressed to share his optimism. 

Television ratings are just this side of infomercials and despite putting on occasionally exciting races, the recognition factor for both the series and its drivers is dismal. 

The decision to create a schedule that has ditched most oval tracks for a balance of street circuits and road courses has proven to be unwise and in fact might have helped Patrick expedite her decision to bolt for NASCAR. 

At one time when the Indy Car Series was known as the IRL the core of the circuit was a series of high-speed oval track events that were as exhilarating as any form of racing in motorsports. 

But rather than build on those phenomenal events the series business plan moved away and back to the mix of road races and street circuit events that did bring more diversity to the schedule but did so at the cost of competition. 

The bulk of the Indy Car schedule is now comprised of events like this weekend’s inaugural Grand Prix of Baltimore, which will draw a good-sized crowd and more than likely be deemed a financial success. But odds are the actual event itself will be more single file parade than memorable race as is the case with most affairs held on narrow street circuits. 

Indy Car racing’s past is littered with similar failed attempts to bring the racing to the masses with races in San Jose, Denver, Detroit, Vancouver, Houston and even the New Jersey Meadowlands venues where the concept fizzled out. 

Who knows where Indy Car might be today if it had followed the tradition of oval track racing and built upon the heritage of the biggest race on its schedule and in the world – the Indianapolis 500.

The landscape of today’s racing world as well as what lies ahead in the future made Patrick’s decision a pretty simple one. 

No matter what shoes she was wearing at the time.

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Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:01 am

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

If Danica is such a great driver and is only being held back by the fact that she's on a mediocre team, then why weren't Penske and Ganassi chomping at the bit to sign her?  The obvious answer is that they've had ample opportunity to evaluate her tallent, and decided that she is not capable of winning a championship.

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:55 am

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

"It’s pretty evident she can drive a racecar"

That's what Pete said, not me.  I'm not sure what he's on, but it must be really good stuff.  Last time I checked, she was 1-for-112 in Indycar, and it's taken her a lifetime geared toward Indy to reach that status.  And don't forget that her lone victory was a fuel mileage win in Japan.  Not that fuel mileage wins don't count, but it's not like she had a dominant car in that race (or in any of the other 111 Indy races that she's been in).

So if her whole life has been dedicated to Indy, and that effort has yielded exactly one win, why would anybody think that she'll be competitive in Nascar?

Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:44 am

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

Go Daddy is the biggest f'in joke! ...and so is the open wheeled circuit.

Since: Dec 21, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:32 pm

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

indycar with d.p...invisible
indycar without dp..the same

the split destroyd the brand. they aint coming back
if it wasnt for IMS and Long Beach, they'd already be a faded memory.

danica was rarely near the front. and mostly not on the lead lap at the checkerd.

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:25 pm

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

OK, please tell me why she gets a pass and get a spot in Nascar? Didn't she win like 1 race, and that was In Japan years ago? She is a whiny little bitch, and if she wasn't hot, nobody would be talking about her. Listen, I am not against women racing (Shirley Muldowney was killer at the dragstrip), but please stop doing Go Daddy crap, learn your trade and win before you earn respect. She is the Anna Kournikova of auto racing so far.   

Since: Mar 30, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:13 pm



Pete Prisco wrote:

" Who knows where Indy Car might be today if it had followed the tradition of oval track racing and built upon the heritage of the biggest race on its schedule and in the world – the Indianapolis 500".

UMM-WHAT?!  Pete if you knew anything about the history of IndyCar (including CART), you'd understand that IndyCar was at it's peak during the mid-90's. Ratings were up and grandstands were packed.  The majority of long-time open-wheel fans look to that era as the glory days of IndyCar. Why? Variety!  A combination of street circuits, long ovals, road circuits, short ovals in conjuction with a healthy balance of technological variety and American star-power. 

Tony George came along and tried the mostly oval racing formula (IRL).  Guess what? It failed.  Open wheel cars don't belong on ovals any more than nascar belongs on road circuits.  I think IndyCar's CEO has done a good job of trying to bring back that variety.  The circuit is still trying to recover from that man's ego. 

As for Danica, I won't miss her.  I have nothing against her, she might even be a pretty good driver.  But the constant unearned media attention was just annoying.  IndyCar is in desperate need of genuine American front running talent, not an open-wheel version of Earnhardt, Jr. 

Since: Dec 31, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 1:43 pm

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

So Danica is leaving Indycar. Well at least we won't have hear her name at the begining and end of segment during the race. She is talented, there is no question about that. But her constant complaining won't be missed. Throwing her team under the bus at Indy a few years back was where she lost my respect. The mechanics and the engineers are the guys working the twenty hour days to give you the euipment to complain about. How about rewarding their hard work but doing what truly great drivers do...overacheive! I am sure there will be an endless supply of whiny sound bits for Nascar fans to listen to after she DNFs at whatever Huckleberry Speedway the wagon trail rolls into. So good luck Danica, I hope you are prepared to be a run of the mill pack filler. Enjoy

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 1:24 pm

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

You are upset because she asked for a certain number?  Wow, you really are an idiot.

Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:42 pm

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

Just another NASCAR scheme to sell T-shirts and tickets.   People will watch just to see her wreck. 

Her arrogance has already shown up with her request for number 7.   Not a Robby Gordon fan but he has had that number for a long time.  Earn it first.  Maybe thats my problem with her,  she comes to NASCAR with the attitude that she has earned something.    

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:27 pm

Idle Thoughts: Indy Car A.D. (After Danica)

I have been an Indycar fan since I could walk. I grew up around the sport and I will always prefer it to NASCAR. As for Danica leaving, I say "don't let the door hit you on the way out!" True racing fans don't want her around. That's why she gets showered with "boo"s whenever she is announced at the Indianapolis 500. I will admit, she brought publicity to a sport that was fading a little, but Indycar was around long before Danica, and will be around long after she has faded away. As for it being a "no-brainer" decision to go to NASCAR....well, that's right, you don't need a brain to drive, or to watch it. Face it NASCAR's the WWE of auto racing. Danica could never shake down a car, set it up, or even drive it. She has a victory in Japan, a race that no one watched. She finishes where she qualifies, just going around in circles. She is terrible are driving in traffic, and restarts. She is a liability on and off the racetrack. Sadly, she will remain in the spotlight simply because she bring in sponsers aka money. She is a spoiled little girl that thinks she can hang with the big boys. But then again, as a woman, she might do better driving a slower car.

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