By admin | May 1, 2013
By Richard Allen
The most hyped driver in NASCAR is easily Danica Patrick. Ever since her move from the IndyCar Series to stock cars, the female driver has been the subject of any and all sorts of media attention. From her commercials for GoDaddy.com to her personal appearances away fromÂ racing to her romance with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., this driver dominates the sport’s headlines off the track.
Trouble is, there is very little to report on Danica as far as on track activities are concerned.
In ten starts during an abbreviated Sprint Cup campaign last season, her best finish was a 17th in Phoenix. This year,Â Danica has one top-10 to go along with seven results of 25th or worse. Those numbers don’t even come close to matching the hype she receives on a weekly basis.
Patrick’s best finish of 2013 came in the sport’s marquee event, the Daytona 500. She ran near the front most of the day in a rather event-less race and was eventually shuffled back to 8th place on the final lap. She did start from the pole in thatÂ race. That, given the unique qualifying format in Daytona, allowed for an overdose of Danica-mania to catch hold.
Danica did score one of the most talked about non top-10 finishes in history when she came home 12th in Martinsville back in early April.
Now, the Sprint Cup Series is set to head to the Talladega Super Speedway this Sunday for another round of restrictor plate racing. That, in turn, means Ms. Patrick will have another shot at living up to the massive amount of hype that surrounds her every move.
Often times, cars that qualify well at Daytona also qualify well in Talladega. This means she will likely have an opportunity to start at or near the front of the field in the Aaron’s 499. Further, with the way the Daytona 500 played out with its single-file parading, there is also the chance that she could ride at or near the front for much of the day as well.
The big question will come late in the going. In Daytona, Danica made the wrong moves on the final lap and fell back while others moved forward.
Can she make the right moves this Sunday in Alabama? If not, it could be a long wait to get back to another plate track in July. A lot of 25th or worse finishes could be piled up by then.
There’s a lot of pressure to get it right when you only have four chances a season.
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