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« Harvick doesn’t like RCR teammates so he’s opting for Stewart, Danica and Busch instead | Main | Discussion Topic: Where does NASCAR rank among your favorite sports? »

Danica needs to show some sign of improvement before the clock stikes midnight

By admin | October 28, 2013

Will Danica ever post solid results on the race track?

By Richard Allen

The 2013 Sprint Cup season is very near to taking the checkered flag and heading to the garage area. So, it’s time for evaluations to begin for those who have been taking part in all the fun and festivities this year. No doubt, every NASCAR team is in the process of grading itself now for the purpose of building on its successes or improving upon its failures.

That same process is likely going on with drivers as well. So with that said, one driver who has been and will be judged by just about everyone who even has a casual interest in the sport is Danica Patrick.

There has perhaps never been a rookie to come onto the NASCAR scene with such fanfare as Danica did this past season.  And that hype was only heightened when she put her Stewart-Haas Racing car on the pole for the season opening Daytona 500. Conveniently, her qualifying run came a full week before the actual race which allowed television and other media outlets to highlight the feat for days.

Most will acknowledge that the job of a rookie driver in the Sprint Cup Series is to log laps and learn. But at the same time, there is a responsibility on the driver to show improvement throughout the year as well.

So the question is, has Danica done what rookies are supposed to do?

I bring this up at this time due to the fact that she was returning to the site of one of her better runs in 2013 this past weekend at the Martinsville Speedway. Back in April, the ‘Go Daddy Girl’ posted a 12th place result on a track known for its difficulty on both driver and machine. It appeared as if the former IndyCar star had made a breakthrough of sorts in the bigger, heavier stock cars.

So how did Danica do in her return to the paper clip shaped half-mile? Well, she turned in a decent 17th place finish, one lap of the leader’s pace. However, she did lose the use of her primary car after a practice crash before the event.

As far as all the other tracks go, Danica hasn’t seemed to progress very much at all this year. As a matter of fact, her high point was actually in the previously mentioned season opener. Her top qualifying run eventually ended with an 8th place finish in NASCAR’s biggest race. Since then, she has only threatened the top-10 with that 12th in Martinsville, a 13th in Michigan and a 14th in the sport’s return trip to Daytona in July.

Statistics bear out the suggestion that Danica has shown little improvement. So far in 2013, she has posted only one top-10. At the same time, she has scored 21 finishes of 25th or worse in 33 races. Her worst showing of all came just four races ago in Kansas when she made an ill advised move between two other cars going into the first turn of the first lap and caused a crash that resulted in a 43rd place finish.

That goes completely against the “keep the fenders on it and log laps” mentality that certain television commentators stated over and over again during their network’s segment of the Sprint Cup schedule. The #10 Chevrolet has completed 9046 of 9640 laps.

Danica’s relationship with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. has garnered more headlines than her race results.

Just for the sake of comparison, Patrick’s boyfriend and fellow ‘Rookie of the Year’ candidate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. has posted one top-5 and three top-10 finishes this season. He too won a pole and has completed 9505 of 9640 laps.

If solid results don’t start to come soon, there could be a much bigger problem for the sport’s most prominent female driver. Although she has achieved several feats and firsts during her career, Danica’s main asset to date has been her marketability. Would anyone disagree with that?

How long will Danica’s sex appeal last?

So if marketability and sex appeal are keys to her rise through the ranks in racing, trouble could be on the horizon for her career. At 31 years of age, time might just be running out on her greatest asset. How many models do you know of who are deep into their 30s?

Also, it has been suggested that the new CEO of GoDaddy.com may want to re-evaluate his company’s place in motorsports, although he does like Danica as a spokesperson.

The bottom line is that Danica needs to post some results worth bragging about sometime in the near future. If not, the clock may strike midnight before NASCAR’s most visible princess finds any real success.

Topics: Articles |

20 Responses to “Danica needs to show some sign of improvement before the clock stikes midnight”

  1. Leto Says:
    October 28th, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    With GoDaddy saying that they will back Danica for a long time, she could run 40th every week and likely still keep her ride. All that matters is that whatever team signs her ends up not losing money on her ride.

    She’s a marketing gimmick. Just like Travis Pastrana. Just like really every driver out there.

    It’s no longer about talent. It’s about what driver can bring money to the team to keep them afloat.

    It hasn’t been about talent for a long time. It has been much more noticeable lately when you have teams signing the “Rent A Ride” drivers just to run in the back every week. When Kevin Conway won Rookie of the Year I think the “Rent A Ride” syndrome was at its peak.

  2. Offkilter Says:
    October 28th, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    There are a dozen or so drivers she races against at the bottom end of the field every week that don’t have great stats either. The assumption that time would run out on her because it usually does for models in their 30’s is a reach and a bit cheesy. There are a great great many women out there waaaaaay beyond 40 that are drop dead gorgeous.
    It’s seems as though the very writers and bloggers that opine that she is over-hyped are the very ones that keep writing about her.

  3. RacingFan Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 12:29 am

    I will bet the dozen or so drivers would like a chance to see what they could do with a fully funded Hendrick chassis and engine like Danica has instead of the junk they are running. Also, because of her light 110 pound weight, the total weight of her and her car is 30 pounds less than some, if not most of them because of NASCAR’s 140 pound rule. Ask Kenseth’s crew chief how many million dollars they would be willing to spend to drop 30 pounds from his car for his battle with Jimmie.

    It’s not just those like Rich that are bringing this up. The radio announcers on last Sunday’s race were raving about her performance at the end of the race. Her performance was OK for a rookie, but any other rookie would have had only a quick mention (if at all) for a 17th place finish and one lap down.

  4. Terry T Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 5:26 am

    So Travis Kvapil and David Reutimann are supposed to be held to the same standards in their flame broiled whoppers as Danica is in Hendrick equipment???

  5. Bill B Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Numbers don’t lie.

  6. Tom Wilkinson Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Good point Terry, Reuti has forgot more about racing than Danica will ever know. By the way D.R.’s new modified that HE built will be on display at Indy power show in December before his dad starts racing it later on.

  7. NASCARJeff Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 7:49 am

    The pole position in Daytona was fixed and anyone who believes she won that fair and square needs to get real.
    Someday a SHR or NASCAR employee will spill the beans on it too.

    Putting Danica Patrick and female rookie on the pole for the sports biggest race put her AND NASCAR on the front page of every newspaper, every morning show and Letterman’s Late Show. She is a marketing tool and that is it.

    Nobody has proved Kyle Petty wrong because he isn’t and some of the NASCAR media (Darrell Waltrip) need to stop making excuses for her.

    Last week Bob Pocrass wrote a piece on how much she has learned and some astute reader pulled up a text of all he “I’m still learning” quotes.

    She is not getting any better, Go-Daddy is wasting there money and Tony Stewart ought to be ashamed of himself.

  8. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Jeff Glock tweeted an article after the race concerning Danica that said she is going to keep her ride for the foreseeable future.

    (http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/andretti-replace-godaddy-sponsor-27-car-20610900?page=2)

  9. Tony Geinzer Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Frankly, I feel diversity is one thing, ethics is another and Rich, I wish them hippies at Fox Sports stop paying for “My Bad” before it gets to Zero Hour! If either of us where owners, would you had wanted 00 or Reed Sorenson as our 1st Drivers and beyond the Tristafied Hype Machine, it wouldn’t hurt if a Reed, Kyle Fowler or Kelly Bires did more than buy us lunch, for a change.

  10. Charlie Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Somebody needs to teach Courtney Force how to turn left. She has the looks and talent. Ford is making a serious mistake not teaching her how to drive a stocker. She can go 300 plus MPH and wrestle a funny car, one of the most dangerous gigs in automobile racing. That would give NASCAR a cushion and a real winner.

  11. Robear Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 10:50 am

    SOMEONE needs to give Johanna Long a shot in a cup car….!!!!! Johanna ALWAYS qualified better than Danicant in the year and a half Danicant was in Nationwide… and in a VERY UNDERFUNDED CAR!!!!

  12. Dave in Ohio Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Thank You!! Finally a Na$car writer that can write seriously abour Danica’s performance in a race car and not be influenced by her big money sponsor or how she looks in a bikini.

    There is no other driver that has been so often described by the Na$car media as “having a great run” or “finished well” and yet rarely even finishes on the lead lap! I hope Tony is making fat money from GoDaddy to waste the team’s time and resources on a no talent driver that would otherwise not have a job.

  13. Jerseygirl24 Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Agree with “numbers don’t lie” and also that I would love to see Johanna Long drive the same car that Patrick is in every week w/her GoDaddy funding and see how different her results would be.

    I’m quite sure as long as GoDaddy is willing to pay the tab that Danica will have a ride in the Cup series.

  14. Chris Fiegler Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I Personally think that Danica Patrick will Improve by Homestead & Probably win a race in 2014. I Predict that she will win either at Martinsville or maybe at Daytona.

  15. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Also ditto to Johanna Long. She runs in possibly the worst car in the Nationwide series yet always runs well. Be nice if she was able to run in a comparable car.

  16. Nammie Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Well……..As long as Godaddy keeps showing up with bushel loads of cash, she’ll have a ride regardless of performance. Money talks, talent walks.

  17. Overra88ted Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    “Fan Favorite” Princess Sparkle Pony is just a marketing tool, just like a another” Fan Favorite” who has a famous last name. Both of these “Fan Favorites” drive the best equipment in Na$crap and STILL can win.

  18. Russ Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Pretty irrelevant if you ask me. Unless 40 some odd somebody else’s show up with more money she will have a ride as long s she wants it.
    While I know this is sexist it is interesting to speculate, given the fact that we all age, how long the money will be coming.

  19. Jeff Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Keep in mind everybody that Danica is responsible for GoDaddy hanging around this sport. This allows the 10 car operation to exist. There are a number of SHR employee’s that are also able to pay their mortgage thanks to Danica.
    That in itself earns my respect for her.

    She also ran pretty decent at Martinsville. I believe she did finish ahead of some pretty good fast guys on Sunday. She is welcome in the 43 car field anytime in my book.

  20. Kelly Says:
    October 30th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Its sad how the drivel these annoucers spew every week, they think we buy it. She stinks, stinks, stinks, nobody worth their racing salt gives a lick about her and her boyfriend. Both are stinking up the track and what a sad pool to pick from for ROTY. A joke. And I am convinced Brian (PT BARNUM) France needed a big intro for the first WWF event of the year, hence Sparkle Pony gets the pole. Fixed, yes I think it was and is.

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