Dear Danica: Just Say No to NASCAR
Indycar needs you.
Hard to argue that with floundering viewers of NASCAR races of late, and the momentum of the Indycar series, fans are being drawn back to "those cars with the funny little wings on 'em."
Prior to the reunification of the IRL and CART, open-wheel racing was playing second fiddle to the NASCAR monolith. Open wheel drivers were lining up to get in on the action in NASCAR. And as a fan, I was interested in seeing how these drivers might fare.
Their results weren't exactly what I expected.
Former Indy 500 winners Dario Franchitti (who has returned to Indycar) and Juan Pablo Montoya have never quite grasped the handle. Paul Tracy tested but ultimately couldn't find a ride.
Former F1 Champ Jacques Villneuve tested but never got off the ground. Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish's transition made sense financially for Penske, and after a long learning curve is finally beginning to show some promise. Whats disappointing for all of these drivers is that they could be legitimate championship contenders in Indycar.
The conclusion drawn from this is that the transition to NASCAR from open wheel is extremely tough. It might be like asking a pilot for the Blue Angels to trade in his supersonic extreme-G F-18 Hornet, and join an air demonstration team made up of Boeing 737's.
Where does that leave Danica?
STAY WITH WHAT WORKS! Danica Patrick has become one of the most popular drivers in all of motor sports. Whether its for her firecracker attitude, her off track photo shoots, or simply because she's a woman in a male dominated sport, people love her.
She's become part of a fraternity (or is it sorority?) of extremely talented drivers including Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe, Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon just to name a few.
Rumor has it (or perhaps its been confirmed) that we're going to see manufacturer's return to the sport to contest Honda. There is young talent emerging in Will Power and Graham Rahal. There were THREE women that qualified for Indianapolis this year!
If Danica had nothing left to prove, or simply had become disenchanted with the sport, then by all means seek new challenges. However, there is plenty left on her plate to accomplish, and the racing this year has been phenomenal.
Don't go anywhere, Danica. Indycar needs you!
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