Should Danica Patrick Consider A Permanent Move to NASCAR?

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IApril 7, 2010

FONTANA, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, walks in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Stater Bros. 300 at Auto Club Speedway on February 19, 2010 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Danica Patrick has made it very clear she prefers to race on oval tracks as opposed to circuitous ones.

One could presume the oval track racing would include stock cars and open-wheel cars.

This coming weekend Danica will face the challenge of traversing a road course she has never raced on, as she and fellow Izod IndyCar drivers will race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

The track, which is not too far from Talladega, is 2.38 miles long with 17 turns and elevations to 80 feet.

Danica tested the track with other drivers in February for two wintry days.

Her comment after the first day was "Today's testing was definitely a challenge.  The GoDaddy car wasn't handling the way I would have liked: the cold weather didn't help either."

Once again Patrick is faced with a road course she can't be enthusiastic about.

The following week she has to race on yet another street course at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Two top 10 finishes are probably in store for her, but she more than likely will not be in the top three finishing positions.

Danica must be wondering if she really is racing in the proper venue.

Media attention is much lighter with regard to Danica and IndyCar racing.  Upon her return to the NASCAR Nationwide race June 26 in New Hampshire, the media will once again swarm around her.

Television analysts will banter constantly about her JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevy as she makes laps on the track, and the media exposure is much greater for GoDaddy.com at NASCAR races.

Danica is also bringing a new group of fans to NASCAR, including women and IndyCar fans, not to mention that fact that she serves as a positive role model for young girls as well as other women drivers.

Following 2010, Danica is signed to Andretti Motorsport for two more years, but contracts are made to be broken.

Should Danica not improve her finish in the points standings for the Izod IndyCar series from fifth in 2009, NASCAR may look much more attractive.

Of course she still wants to win the Indy 500, but it does seem racing open-wheel cars has perhaps become a bit lackluster for her.

Danica needs to run the remaining 10 NASCAR Nationwide races, where she will be on tracks more conducive to her driving style.

Dover may be her toughest challenge for the races she has yet to run in a stock car this season.  The concrete monster is apt to take a bite or two out of her, but it will be good experience.

The outcome of her attempt to win at Indianapolis in her open-wheel car could prove pivotal for her.

A win, place or show at the prestigious race may do one of two things.

It may eliminate her desire to stay in the Izod IndyCar series and free her to move to NASCAR in 2011 pending contract negotiations.

On the other hand, the less likely scenario would be for her to strive to win more races and further prove her ability as an open-wheel driver.

It is not a given Danica is capable of defeating her tough competition from the boys of the IRL.  They seem to be on a roll with strong talent.

The petite, strong-willed driver is anxious to prove she can handle a stock car.

It is very possible she could be a top-ten finisher during her NASCAR endeavors the second half of this year.

Danica Patrick will be quickly groomed for Sprint Cup racing and she is certain to be in demand.

The pot of gold at the end of her rainbow has NASCAR written all over it.

Now she needs to focus on the irritating tracks with all those turns.  Her GoDaddy.com open-wheel beast can be quite a challenge on those type circuits.

Bring on the ovals!

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