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Woody: Danica Would Look Good In Fenders

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, April 22 2009
Danica Patrick interested in NASCAR?  (RacinToday.com photo by Tony Bush)

Danica Patrick interested in NASCAR? (RacinToday.com photo by Tony Bush)

 

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Question: could a driver who is described as being “sexy and sculpted” find happiness in NASCAR?

I never heard Junior Johnson described that way.

But that’s how Danica Patrick is depicted in the current edition of SHAPE Magazine, drawing attention to herself as rumors ripple once again about the possibility of a Danica defection to NASCAR.

Patrick is in the final year of her Indy Racing League contract with Andretti Green Racing. When asked recently in a New York Times story about a potential move from the IRL to NASCAR, Patrick coyly replied that “it’s interesting.”

That’s a subtle but perhaps significant shift from last year’s stance that she’s happy right where she is.

The Danica-to-NASCAR speculation cooled quickly last season after the flameout of Dario Franchitti, combined with the continued struggles of Sam Hornish Jr. If two proven IRL drivers like Franchitti and Hornish had difficulty making the NASCAR transition, could Patrick hope to cut it? Would going to NASCAR be a wise career move?

In the IRL she’s a pretty face in a small crowd; in NASCAR the crowds are larger and drivers seldom pose in bikinis for magazine covers.

Then again, personality and popularity can trump performance; Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s popularity has not wilted or waned amid his losing streak.

Nobody knows if Patrick is seriously pondering a move or if she’s just stirring the media pot. But there’s no denying her magnetism, or what an immediate sensation she would be in NASCAR with its giant PR machine and tons of exposure.

As big as Danica-mania has been in the IRL, it would be magnified a hundred-fold in NASCAR. Patrick, with her keen marketing instincts, realizes that the increased media attention come increased opportunities.

Would some top-flight team owner take a chance on Patrick? In a heart-beat, especially given the current economic climate when high-dollar sponsors are at a premium. The exposure that Patrick would bring to any team and its sponsor would fill a swimming pool with corporate drool.

If it turned out that she could drive, well, so much the better.

Could the petite Patrick cut it physically in the heavier, bulkier stock cars? Are you kidding?  Try shaking hands with her sometime; she’s got the grip of a lumberjack.

Most NASCAR drivers aren’t exactly lumbering behemoths. Danica, in a wet swimsuit, may out-weigh Mark Martin.

Besides, years ago somebody invented power steering. As Janet Guthrie once remarked: “I don’t have to lift the car, I just have to drive it.”

There’re no question that Patrick could physically drive stock cars.

There’s no question that Patrick would create a media whirlwind seldom seen in the sport.

The only questions are, would she be competitive in the new NASCAR world, and is she willing to take the risk?

Like all things Danica, the possibilities are delicious to ponder.

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, April 22 2009
6 Comments

6 Comments »

  • steven says:

    she would have NO chance of being competitive in nascar. period.

  • The Old Guy says:

    The only thing that Danica Patrick would do for NASCAR is take some of the focus away from Earnhardt Jr. Which, IMO, would not be a bad thing.

    However, I also think that she would fail miserably trying to drive 3,200 # Cars with fenders. Franchitti, Hornish & others who are far better drivers than Patrick have tried and failed.

    Please, let her stay in open wheel.

  • Barry says:

    “immediate sensation she would be in NASCAR with its giant PR machine and tons of exposure.”

    That was an understatement at the very least. Danika is well over exposed right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see a beautiful woman but can she drive great or just so – so. What I have seen so far from her is that she is only a so so driver. She is very whiny to boot when things don’t go her way.

    I think she loves showing her stuff for sure but frankly when you take all the make up off and get rid of the air brushing she is only a so so looking woman.

    It seems like her car owners and IRL have been using her and she just went along with it.

    Nascar is boring as watching water boil anymore, what nascar needs is to get back to great side by side racing, banging and bumping, what drew us there to begin with. As it stands now I only have the race’s on… because. If they add sex to the mix I will just no longer watch the races. I can look at playboy if I need the sex fix, I don’t need nascar to do it for me.

  • Todd Crane says:

    Woody, Danica would lQQk good in ANYTHING. Hope she comes to NA$CAR.

  • [...] Question: could a driver who is described as being “sexy and sculpted” find happiness in NASCAR? I never heard Junior Johnson described that way. But that’s how Danica Patrick is depicted in … http://www.racintoday.com/archives/2416 [...]

  • marc says:

    “There’re no question that Patrick could physically drive stock cars.”

    I agree however, the biggest drawback is the 36 event schedule. She’s said in the past 36 events would be a grind and it’s understandable, it’s a grind for current and past male drivers.

    The key maybe in how she performs the remainder of the IRL season. I was mildly shocked to see her finish 4th at Long Beach after starting at the tail of the field and road course have been her weakness.

    If that level of performance continues her price to IRL teams will go up, if not she may be on the outside looking in. And looking in[to] NASCAR.

    Or possibly, maybe USF1.