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Danica- Stenhouse Relationship Will Overshadow Bigger Issues

By admin | January 25, 2013

Ricky Stenhouse and Danica Patrick will overshadow other NASCAR issues in 2013.Â

By Richard Allen

No matter what the “pure journalists” might be telling themselves and whoever else is within earshot, the revelation that NASCAR Rookie of the Year candidates Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse are involved in a relationship is a story. Unless these two aren’t human, there is no way this won’t in some way(positively or negatively) affect their on track performance and decision making throughout the season.

As an example of how personal affairs can have an impact on a driver’s performance, Jeff Gordon’s divorce from his first wife did slow him down in 2002 accoring to Darrell Waltrip.

But the real story here is that this romance(or whatever it is) will command a great deal of attention. And with that being the case, there are other issues that will get pushed to the outer rings of the circus. Topics that reveal both bright positives and dark negatives won’t receive the coverage they should get because of today’s star driven world of sports in particular and society as a whole.

For example, manufacturers, teams and NASCAR have spent a great deal of money, time and resources developing the new Gen-6 race car to replace the much criticized Car of Tomorrow. The belief is that the car’s greater brand identity will help to re-ignite the old passions of brand loyalty that were once such a major part of the sport. Also, the car’s lighter weight and other tweaks will hopefully improve racing in a series that was often considered boring in previous years.

Suddenly, the Gen-6 is being overshadowed by a Generation Y relationship.

Consider too that it was revealedduring the recent Sprint Media Tour that the sport’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driving for the sport’s most powerful team, Hendrick Motorsports, has multiple races on his 2013 Sprint Cup schedule for which no company has yet agreed to sponsor. Granted, the team does not seem overly concerned and appears more focused on signing a deal that will take them beyond the current season, but the idea of a media giant such as Junior being unsponsored for any race seems almost beyond comprehension.

The search for a sponsor on NASCAR’s most visible ride would normally take on a life of its on at any other time. But now, “Stenica” will divert attention away from that.

Another story, slipped into the news cycle just as the Danica- Stenhouse relationship was reaching a fever pitch on Twitter, is the revelation that two Nationwide Series races(Richmond & Kentucky) will be shifted awayfrom their normal television coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC and onto the much less circulated ESPNews channel.

Has NASCAR really dropped to the point that some races have to be shown on a channel such as ESPNews? “Stenica” probably won’t address that topic in the almost certain to come joint press conferences.

Again, a dating relationship between two NASCAR drivers is a story. However, in both a convenient and inconvenient way for NASCAR, the coverage of that relationship will overshadow other issues, issues that reveal more about the health of the sport.Â

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13 Responses to “Danica- Stenhouse Relationship Will Overshadow Bigger Issues”

  1. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    January 25th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Ironic Tiger Woods reference in that Jeff Gordon article.

  2. Russ Says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 3:37 am

    All good points about the sport. And you have to wonder is this a sign that there is a flailing around to try and find something that resonates with the “man in the street”?
    Also is the ESPNews thing a warning shot to Nascar from the folks in Bristol? Interesting that one is a ISC track, the other SMC.

  3. Sue Rarick Says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 11:24 am

    A magician depends on slight of hand to make his tricks work. Danica/Stenhouse thing apears to be the slight of hand that will hide the facts you mentioned.There’s trouble in paradise, but let’s hide it with a good juicey story line.

  4. Tony Geinzer Says:
    January 26th, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I almost want to know more about what races are on TV as Speed’s Realignment is being drug out and I almost want to know more about what tracks are we going to as Stenhouse has a hard enough time being thrown into a seat that Roush should have known Matt Kenseth wound up leaving.

  5. Steven Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 6:52 am

    The Danica-Ricky thing is a natural progression into the WWF model. The unwashed masses will eat it up but Nascar has been cheapened by the selling of Danica.

  6. Joe W. Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Tony, why should Roush have known Kenseth would leave? And how is Stenhouse “being thown into” the seat. He is a two time Nationwide Champion. It was time to move up. It sponcors can be found for next year Trevor Bayne will be “thrown into the seat” of the 6 car too. That’s what “develpoment series are for. I’m not thrilled with the Danica and Ricky thing because I fear it may distract him but only time will tell. Let’s see how he does. He may not start out the season great but I bet he wins a race this year. and as for Kenseth, he know has two less than helpful team mates to deal with. Maybe he should ask Joey Logano about them.

  7. jerseygirl Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I think it is kind of amusing that the danica-ricky thing is getting so much press. I guess it is a sign of that there isn’t that much interesting to talk about and IMO ESPN is all about gossip anyway.

    I’m not a Danica fan so I don’t really care who she dates.

    So far we have a really “pretty” car which looks better but who knows how it will actually race. That is what I am interested in — will it be fun to watch them race, not who’s sleeping with another driver.

  8. Glen H. Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Well sure the Danica / Ricky romance is going to over shadow all other stories related to NA$CAR. It involves the Queen of Hype which is the only driver that we’re going to be hearing about this season anyway.

  9. k Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I agree, the whole Danica thing now with Steakhouse is just too much. Danica is a media attention seeker and Ricky has no idea what lies ahead, not a fan of Ricky but he will learn. As for Joey L. not having the support of teamates at JGR, you hit the nail right on the head. Kyle appeared so at times, but Miss Hamlin mentoring etc. seemed to be a big never. But he doesn’t seem to be much of a true team player anyhoo. Onward 2013!

  10. The Mad Man Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    The whole Whaa-nica/Sticky Henhouse Jr thing adds to the WWE appearance that NASCAR has taken on like Steven said and it also serves as a distraction from folks actually scrutinizing the Gen 6 car for what it really is. A COT with a new body.

    What the teams aren’t telling the media is the “new car” performs worse and is more unstable than the original COT. No matter what you call it, it’s still just putting lipstick on a pig.

    Play on McDuff!

  11. Chris Fiegler Says:
    January 28th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Who cares About this? I Sure Don’t Care About this.

  12. k Says:
    January 29th, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Agreed Mad Man, I look forward to the new season with anticipation and dread, should have left well enough alone. I do hate the COT car, hope this at the very least a marginal improvement.

  13. Offkilter Says:
    January 29th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    So stewart/haas racing is not the only one giving danica a ride? Haha… Cheesy , i know.