Danica Patrick to Make Nationwide Debut In Saturday's Drive4COPD 300

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IFebruary 8, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 04:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, poses during NASCAR media day at Daytona International Speedway on February 4, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Danica Patrick probably made the best decision of her young NASCAR career—choosing to race in Saturday’s Drive4COPD 300 Nationwide race.

After hearing week after week the saga that followed her desire to race in the NASCAR Series, she held true to her words and now the fans will finally get what they have been waiting for.

"I've got a lot to learn, but I have good people around me. We're ready to go. I am here to drive a Sprint Cup Car in the Sprint Cup Series,” said Patrick.

The decision couldn’t have been an easy one, but when you think of the word competitor, why would any driver choose to sit out the biggest race of the season?

After all she did make it clear that her desire was to someday race in the cup series, and with a lot of the cup regulars entered into Saturday's race, this is her best chance of the season to fulfill what she has set out to accomplish.

Timing in the NASCAR Series doesn’t always play into the driver's schedule. Sometimes drivers have to go beyond the box and seize the moments as they come along.

Such was the case with Patrick, and her wanting to wait for the second Nationwide race of the season at Auto Club Speedway.

"Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do," Patrick said.

"The ARCA race was a blast, and I'm not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet. I want more racing."

Now you sit back and think about not only the experience that she will gain, but how she will also be among some of the cup regulars in the field.

Danica will be challenged by some of the best drivers in the motorsports world who know how to handle a rookie driver.

Being the competitor that she is, it didn’t make much sense to skip the chance of a lifetime since there are no guarantees’ that an opportunity such as this will arise in the future.

In NASCAR racing, as sad as it is, we have seen the inevitable happen without giving some very good talent the chance to compete at this high level of racing.

Patrick has set a path that only she can walk down, and given the backing along with some of the best equipment in the series, it is up to her to take full advantage of what is being given to her.

Even though she finished 6th in her first official start in a stock car in the Arca Series Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 on Saturday, the trial and error phase has just begun along with a learning curve that is just as uncertain.

It's inevitable that whether she wins, loses, or doesn’t finish the race, the skeptics will be out in full force waiting to critique her every move.

Many fans around the various NASCAR social sites have already spoken saying that she has not earned the right to race in the NASCAR Series, but none of that matters because she is here and ready to make a go at it.

Basically when you come right down to it, we all have our opinions and now its up to her to prove that she does belong racing with the best stock cars drivers that the series has to offer.

Kelley Earnhardt said it the best, “She has worked extremely hard during the past two months for this opportunity. Her dedication and work ethic is infectious.”

Only time will tell how true these words really are.