Blog Entry

Girl Power

Posted on: December 8, 2009 2:16 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2009 2:19 pm
I half expected Tuesday's announcement by Danica Patrick to be an update on the coat drive she told the world about during her "Good Morning America" appearance last week.

I mean we've come to expect a lot of nothing on the Danica-to-NASCAR front over the last several months with speculation and conjecture outweighing any real news.

That finally ended with Tuesday's press conference in Phoenix - sort of.

Patrick will indeed try her hand at stock car racing with JR Motorsports in 2010, the entity owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his sister Kelley.

She will pilot a No. 7 Chevrolet sponsored by, which will also back her Indy Car Series effort with Michael Andretti's team.

Tony Eury Jr., Earnhardt's cousin and former crew chief, will call the shots for Patrick with her stock car debut coming in the ARCA Series opener at Daytona in February. And Patrick will tune-up for that debut by taking part in the ARCA open test at Daytona December 18-20.

Other than that, nothing else was unveiled.

How many races Patrick runs in NASCAR has yet to be determined according to Kelley Earnhardt, who is the General Manager of JPM. It's expected the schedule will be front loaded before the IRL season begins in March and then pick up again after the final Indy Car checkered flag in October.

That makes sense and will allow Patrick to concentrate on her open wheel effort without the added pressure of jumping back and forth.

But the question of how fast Patrick can adapt to the full-bodied stock car world remains and there are many skeptics in the NASCAR garage.

Open wheel drivers with better credentials than Patrick have struggled in trying to make the jump to stock car racing with some, like Dario Franchitti and Jacques Villeneuve - standouts in Indy Car and Formula One racing - unable to cut it in NASCAR.

Juan Pablo Montoya finally came into his own this year, his third full season in NASCAR.

Whether Patrick can become competitive in a handful of Nationwide races while still juggling her iRL slate is a big if in this whole equation.

What isn't a question is Patrick's ability to be a lightning rod and attract exposure and attention, both things NASCAR can use these days. She will immediately shine a brighter light on the NASCAR world with her decision to dip a toe into the stock car racing pool and the ARCA test at Daytona may be the most attended in the long history of that Midwest-based series.

The cat's finally out of the bag and it's up to Patrick to prove herself.

I think it will be fun to watch.

Category: Auto Racing

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: December 9, 2009 2:13 pm

Girl Power

I  agree  that  she  should  run  more  in  ARCA , but , then  again , she  runs  in  INDY , and  knows  about  racing . But  that's  my  thoughts , and , as  you  said , D2MOO , and  Pete , that  she's  only  running  a  part-time  driver  in  Nationwide Series . If  she  runs  about  12  races , that  will  be  alot  for her . INDY  racing  is  only  16  races , but  , they  have  more  practice , and  whatnot , than  NASCAR .Look  at  Indianapolis , they  spent  a  little  bit  more than  a  month  there . With  that  said , I  don't  think  that  she  thinks  about  running  at  the  head  of  the  pack . Danica  is  only  looking  at  NASCAR , as  she   signed  a  5  year  contract , that  gives  her  to  race  to  other  types  of  racing , like  NASCAR. Will  her  go  to  a  full  season  in NASCAR ? I  don't  think  so , as  I  think  that  she  wants  to  race  in  INDY  racing . But , if  they , Indy  racing  folds , that's  might  happen , I  think  then  that  she  will  go  to  NASCAR. But , as  I  said  before , this  is  only  my  thoughts . But , I  was  right  that  she  would  go  to  Jr. .

Since: Mar 13, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2009 10:27 am

Girl Power

How many races Patrick runs in NASCAR has yet to be determined according to Kelley Earnhardt, who is the General Manager of JPM.I don't think Juan would be too happy about that one - LOL. I think you meant JRM for JR Motorsports? Undecided

Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: December 9, 2009 9:10 am

Girl Power

She could run Nationwide races on most or all of the "off" weekends in the IndyCar schedule as well... so all of these are definite possibilities:

2/13 Daytona
2/20 California
2/27 Las Vegas
(IndyCar season starts 3/14 in Brazil)
3/20 Bristol
4/3 Nashville
4/24 Talladega
5/7 Darlington
5/15 Dover (although this is the start of Indy 500 qualifying, so probably not)
6/12 Kentucky
6/26 New Hampshire
7/9 Chicagoland
7/31 Iowa
8/14 Michigan
9/10 Richmond
9/25 Dover
(Last IndyCar race is 10/2 at Homestead)
10/9 California
10/15 Lowe's
10/23 Gateway
11/6 Texas
11/13 Phoenix
11/20 Homestead

Now, if I were Danica, I would try to get as many DIFFERENT types of experiences as possible.  So other than the first three races and the last six, I would focus on these ones: Bristol (THAT would give her an education in stock car racing!); Richmond; Darlington; Dover; and maybe Michigan (the first three and last six have a few mile-and-a-half tracks, so Michigan might not be necessary... while not exactly the same, California is similar).  Obviously the more the merrier with the rest of them.

I also agree that the new Nationwide car should help level the playing field quite a bit.

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2009 3:23 pm

Girl Power

Pete, it will be fun to watch and I wish her success.  My question is will she dedicate herself to running enough races to become competent driving stock cars?  If she runs part time, she should expect part time results and not be surprised when she does't run up front.  She was willing to put in the time in "lower" open wheel divisions to be a success in Indy cars.  Now she needs to run a lot of ARCA races to prepare for the Nationwide series.

She will get one equalizer.  The new Nationwide cars will take an adjustment for all the drivers.  She may have a chance to catch up some.  Running a few truck races wouldn't hurt her in that adjustment.  I'm just glad all these who's she going to drive for rumors can be put to rest and we'll be able to see how the adjustment to stock cars goes.

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