Danica Patrick or Travis Pastrana: Who Will Be First to Win a NASCAR Race?
With two major "outside" names on the NASCAR radar in Danica Patrica and Travis Pastrana, a fan and media based rivalry has started.
While Patrick has a head start on Pastrana, the question of "who will win first" is still out there. Personally, I'm not a major fan of either driver, but I feel that Travis Pastrana will win first.
Here are a few reasons why.
Danica Patrick definitely has to be tough to run in a male dominated sport, but Travis Pastrana is one tough customer both mentally and physically, refusing to give up.
Pastrana hurt himself at the X Games in the Best Trick, breaking his ankle and foot, which forced him to back out of his Nationwide debut. However, he was back later that weekend in a rally car with hand controls to drive. He ended up finishing fourth in the event.
Danica is known to be a little whiny, get frustrated and back off on the driving front when something happens to her. Pastrana proved last weekend that even when something undesirable happens, he'll just push even harder.
While Danica came in to NASCAR with all the confidence in the world—just to have it taken away when she finally realized NASCAR wasn't a walk in the park—Pastrana has been building up his confidence in a smaller NASCAR series with a few races before he messes with the big boys.
Pastrana has raced in the K & N series twice so far and while he finished 27th when starting 10th in his second race, he did score a sixth place finish after qualifying 20th in his first race.
Sure, two K & N races may not seem like a lot—especially if he would have debuted in Nationwide at O'Reilly last weekend—but it's definitely better than just throwing yourself to the dogs like Danica did with her two week ARCA/Nationwide debut.
Rally vs. Open Wheel
Although Travis Pastrana's professional driving experience is with rally cars, they are more "stocky" than the open wheel Indy cars that Danica Patrick drives.
Sure, rally cars don't translate to NASCAR very well, but anything is an advantage and not having to go from a completely different type of car—like Patrick had to—makes for an easier transition.
Danica Patrick comes in with one win in her career, Travis Pastrana has won at least 17 times in rally cars and four driver's championships in the Rally America series.
Pastrana comes into NASCAR with a better record, something that Danica is criticized for. His NASCAR experiences thus far show that he shouldn't be a complete failure in a stock car.
Less Media and Fan Pressure
Travis Pastrana is a popular driver, so there is definitely pressure for him to do well. However, he doesn't have the media and fans watching and talking about his every potential move.
Don't get me wrong, Pastrana does have pressure on him, but it's definitely not at the same level as the Danica fandom that we've experienced the last two years. For example, when Danica was getting ready to make her debut in NASCAR, the media would not let it go. When Pastrana was set to make his debut in NASCAR, there were a few words about it but definitely not to the intense press level that Danica's debut sparked.