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Danica will not save NASCAR

By admin | December 15, 2009

By Richard Allen


Ever since it was announced last week that Danica Patrick would drive on a limited basis for JR Motorsports in 2010 there have been some interesting headlines written on the subject. “Will Danica save NASCAR?” and “Danica could provide the shot in the arm NASCAR needs” have been at the top of columns regarding the female IndyCar driver’s entry into stock cars.

Well, I can save everyone the suspense and address both of the above mentioned headlines and any others similar to them. No, she will not save NASCAR and any shot in the arm she provides the sport will be one that is short-lived.

My opinion has nothing to do with the fact that NASCAR’s newest ‘superstar’ is female nor is it any sort of prediction as to whether she will do well or not.

It does not matter whether Ms. Patrick wins every race she enters or whether she never even comes close to winning one race. Those who believe this type of high profile but lack of substance move will save NASCAR are completely missing the point. What will save NASCAR and what will provide the shot in the arm NASCAR needs is significantly improved on-track competition. No one person, no matter who he or she happens to be, can provide that.

Danica may well succeed or she may well fail. In the grand scheme of things neither outcome matters. What her arrival in the sport will do is provide a distraction from some of the real issues that face modern day stock car racing. The folks in Daytona Beach who run this sport must be relishing in the sudden lack of concern over such issues as the much maligned Chase for the Championship, the soulless Car of Tomorrow, the poor attendance at this year’s races and the lackluster television ratings that have plagued the sport for the past couple of seasons.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Danica coming to NASCAR, but her announcement has diverted attention from where it should be this off season.

So, what will happen after the green flag drops on another season in 2010? Sure, there will be some initial interest in what she does in her maiden voyage into the world of big heavy stock cars. But after the novelty wears off and people come to realize that the product is no better than it was last year will they continue to watch just because a high profile female driver happens to be on the track?

Once again the higher-ups who run the sport and their mainstream media apologists who try to put a positive spin on even the worst of situations have proven that they do not get it. Instead of patting each other on the back for creating another short-lived media frenzy they should be hard at work behind closed doors addressing the real issues in this sport.

After all, there is only so long they can continue to string along these big splash announcements until they finally come to the realization that nobody is listening anymore.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

11 Responses to “Danica will not save NASCAR”

  1. Bill B Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Great article and right on! I agree this Danica circus takes away from real issues.

    FYI: I think you missed a word in the last sentence of the 4th paragraph.

    Should that be “NO one person, no matter who he or she happens to be, can provide that”.

  2. Richard Allen Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks Bill,

    need all the help I can get.

  3. john Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    What I thought was so exciting a few years ago about the IRL was how so many races came down to side by side finishes. I had season tickets at texas and for a several years in a row the IRL racing was the best anywhere. Somehow Nascar has got to start getting some finishes like that. Nascar is gimmicks and promotions but the racing has no substance, example talledega and the brickyard in 08. I have since given up my tickets and dvr the races so I dont have to watch the commercials every six minutes and I can fast forward through digger. It’s a shame the sport has fallen to the level that it has. I now buy college football tickets.

  4. Matt Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I think 2010 will be the perfect year to step away from Nascar from a fan perspective. The Danica mania will be the top story everywhere. I’m tired of the the Hendrick clan stinking up the show, making racing incredibly boring to watch. I think you are right, all the Danica hype will take attention away from the real issues, which can only mean it will be that much further down the road before Nascar ever does anything to fix those issues. Yes, its a perfect time for a break. I’m looking forward to not wasting any more sundays watching what equates to “re-runs” where I already know the outcome.

  5. Steve Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Spot on with this article. Danica won’t even be racing in the Cup series this season, so it will have no affect on the “big show”. Its amazing how everyone sees the fact that the product on the race track is the biggest problem except the powers that be in Daytona. I suppose when you occupied with Jeremy Mayfield, divorces, determining your residence, and a nephew that likes to race his lamborgini (sp?) on public roads with coke in the car, no wonder your focus is elsewhere.

  6. Ken Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I think the Danica frenzy could well backfire. Danica’s claim to fame is her looks and her sex appeal. I think that will be a negative to the half of fans who are female. GoDaddy ads and promotions are aimed squarely at a younger male audience (I have 2 daughters older than her). Whether we fellows admit it or not, attendance at races and other weekend activities are determined by the wife. If the wife doesn’t want her husband exposed to a good looking woman trying her best to draw attention to her body, she makes sure they have something else to do on race day.

  7. The Mad Man Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve got to agree with you Rich. She won’t save NASCAR from itself. Besides the lack of competition on the track, there’s the other problem of poor leadership at the top of the sport. replace the poor leadership with someone who knows how to lead and then we might see a turn around. Until then, the apologist and the Hype Machine will be cranking out their usual smoke and mirrors laced propaganda while the Titanic continues to sink.

  8. Gina Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Rich, excellent article. I’m bored with Danica-mania already and she has only done a test.

    The people running this hot mess need to get a clue. There are a lot of issues in NASCAR that need to be addressed - all of the ones you mentioned - in fact, it’s a shame that no one in NASCAR management gets it.

  9. Joe in Pittsburgh Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Another fine article that I agree with 100%. After all the hype goes away,we still have the same issues facing the sport–but hey our souveneirs revenue got a bump first quarter!!!

  10. JReilly Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I too think Danica will not suceed. She has one thing going for her though. She is in very good equipment.
    This is something not to many other open wheel drivers have had when they came over. Sam Hornish is still having a real hard time though his finishes have gotten a little better. But was Penske’s Nationwide cars aren’t even close to what Jr’s/Hendricks Nationwide equipment is. If she can handle the movement of the car and if she’s as tough as everyone makes her out to be she might have an outside shot for some top ten finishes. Brad Kesolowski brought that car home in the 10 ten almost every week. I give her 5 races , if she can’t have some decent finishes after the 1st five starts that’s how I will judge her . I am a Dale jr fan so I kind of hope he wasn’t just bringing her in for the $ ..I’m pretty sure he didn’t need the money. So why? $$$$$$$$$$$$$ business is business I guess……$$$$$$$$

  11. minibikemike Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 5:52 pm