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Is Danica Patrick Ready for Daytona?

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 05:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 Chevrolet, speaks to the media after qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway on February 5, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
Jenn EblinContributor IJune 22, 2016

It’s no surprise that I’m not a big fan of Danica Patrick. I’ve said a few less than stellar things about her in the past, but only because I’m worried about the kind of impression people get of female racers when they see her interviews. Danica seems happy to use her sex appeal (i.e. the Go Daddy commercials) and while that may work for her, you won’t see Kyle Busch or Jimmie Johnson acting the same way. She’s also quick to point the finger of blame at other drivers, never takes responsibility for her own actions and isn’t afraid to let the tears flow, whether she wins or loses.

Patrick announced this weekend that she’ll run the Nationwide race at Daytona and it seems like everyone has an opinion on her choice. Honestly, I don’t think she’s ready for the work. Remember when the Indy and Formula One racers were flocking to NASCAR a few years ago? The idea of one of those drivers taking on a restrictor plate track right away was a joke. If you even entertained the idea, you were laughed off, yet Danica wants to do it and somehow that’s okay.

There’s an idea circling the garage, one that reporters and writers are picking up on, that Danica will bring a new fan base into NASCAR and change things. Will she really? I’m all for opening up the doors and bringing more female racers into the sport, but I can’t picture Danica doing that. I also can’t imagine her bringing a whole slew of female fans into the sport; after all, we’re already here.

When she climbs into that Nationwide car, all eyes are going to be on her. The smallest slip up and everyone will be talking about it. She thinks she’s ready for the race because she did moderately well in an ARCA car, but that means nothing. Lots of drivers did well in ARCA, but couldn’t translate that success into the higher levels of NASCAR. She needs a lot more before she hops into a car and expects to win: namely seat time and experience.

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