Danica Patrick: You Are the "Dangling" Queen

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IDecember 2, 2009

HOMESTEAD, FL - OCTOBER 09:  Danica Patrick driver of the #7 Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda during practice for the IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 300 on October 9, 2009 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Love her or hate her, the Danica Patrick "coming to NASCAR buzz" continues without ceasing or final resolution.  The most recognized female race car driver in the country seems determined to keep the NASCAR world dangling in anticipation of her announcement of whether or not she will join the ranks of NASCAR racing. 

The Associated Press today reported that one day after signing her three year contract extension with team Andretti in the IndyCar racing league, Patrick is still trying to finalize a deal to also drive part-time in NASCAR. 

"I can’t say.  I’ve made no mystery about the fact that I’m curious about it, and I’m interested, and I want to do it," Patrick said.  "I’ve been to Charlotte a few times.  But as a driver, if I got the chance to race in both series, that’s what I would want to do."

Yet again, however, Patrick seems to be toying with NASCAR nation.  In fact, each time her IndyCar contract comes due, Patrick seems to magically appear in the world of NASCAR, dangling her potential interest in stock car racing in front of NASCAR teams as well as her current IndyCar team.

This summer, with her IndyCar contract up for renewal, Patrick once again began to tantalize the NASCAR world with her interest in at least driving part-time at one of the lower levels of the sport.  She reportedly wants to put her "toe into the water" to test her ability and capacity in the sport.

Throughout the summer, Patrick continued her blitz of visiting many NASCAR teams, from JR Motorsports to Michael Waltrip Racing.  She also talked with some of the sport's most notable drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Stewart.

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"She doesn't have some misguided idea that it's going to be easy," Stewart said. "She wants to do it the right way. She has the intention of doing everything right."

"She's looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Hey, this is what I want to do,'" Stewart said.

Patrick continued to toy with the world of NASCAR throughout the fall.  The most persistent rumor being dangled recently is that Patrick is close to signing with JR Motorsports to drive a limited schedule in the Nationwide Series. 

In a visual tease, an image of Patrick in a JR Motorsports fire suit briefly made an appearance on the team website before just as quickly disappearing.  Both JR Motorsports and Patrick herself, however, deny that either have formally "signed on the bottom line."

Negotiations have been so secretive in fact that Patrick's father is not even sure what is going on.  Although he has urged his daughter to go to NASCAR due to increased ratings, money, and sponsorship, he too has been under a gag order from his daughter during the negotiation phase.

Patrick has made clear that she intends to balance NASCAR racing with her IndyCar responsibilities.  Her intentions are to run about a dozen NASCAR races before and after her IRL season, probably kicking off her stock car season by jumping into an ARCA car at Daytona in February 2010.

While Patrick has dangled herself as a potential prize in NASCAR before, this time seems a bit different and definitely more serious.  She has done her homework, is bringing some lucrative sponsorship dollars with GoDaddy.com, and most important, is adding into the equation her own unique combination of sexiness and powerful racer to the table.

At a time in NASCAR history when the recession has hit hard, sponsorship dollars have dried up and the sport's favorite driver, Dale Jr., has had a most miserable season, the possibilities of Danica Patrick coming to NASCAR has set tongues wagging and rumors flying. 

NASCAR leadership is most likely salivating at the thoughts of not only attracting increased media attention, improving sagging television ratings, and putting more fans in the seats if this "racing queen" comes into the racing series.

So, Danica, what is it going to be?  Are you coming to NASCAR or not?  It is now time to stop tantalizing NASCAR nation and seal the deal already one way or the other. 

In the immortal words of ABBA in their song "Dancing Queen" , with a bit of poetic license a la Danica:

You're a teaser, you turn 'em on

Leave them burning and then you're gone

Looking out for another, anyone will do

You're in the mood for a dance

And when you get the chance...

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life.

See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the "dangling" queen.

See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the "dangling" queen.

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