Danica Patrick's Version Of "The Empresses New Ride"

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IFebruary 23, 2010

FONTANA, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Danica Patrick looks on from inside the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet 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

Most of us might remember when growing up the story of the “The Emperors New Clothes.”

To loosely paraphrase the fable, there was an emperor who simply adored beautiful clothes, and he would go through great lengths along with spending huge amounts of money to make sure he had the best wardrobe that anyone could ever set their eyes upon.

His passion for having the best wardrobe probably overshadowed some his decision making, and it showed when he hired the two weavers who declared they could make the most magnificent cloth that has ever been seen.

Well as the story goes the two men were not weavers, but instead were swindlers who knew how to market themselves by doing a little “smooth talking,” along with being  able to convince the emperor that the cloth would be the most beautiful that anyone had ever seen.

Its no big secret that attendance for the IRL has dropped off in the last few years.

The series biggest star, Danica Patrick, is not attracting the fans any longer like she was in the beginning even though GoDaddy.com has her plastered on just about every commercial during the telecast.

The fans have begun to realize that Patrick is just like any other driver on the track, and they don’t have to pay the price of admission when she is readily available by just clicking on their favorite Internet browser.

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In other words the novelty of having her in the series is slowly wearing off, and its beginning to show in the ratings.

So what happens when the IRL’s biggest star begins to lose her star power, and the fans are not watching anymore?

Its easy, you bring her over to NASCAR where the sport is having its problems with fan attendance and popularity, along with the sports most popular driver having trouble finishing in the top 10.

With a little smooth talking by GoDaddy.com , along with convincing the sport's most recognized owner to give her a chance, and before you know it Patrick is back in the spotlight.

After all marketing is the name of the game, and just like the weavers who spent many nights and days convincing the emperor that when they were finished with the garment he would be the talk of the town, he believed them.

Hmmm does any of this sound familiar? Think about all the money that GoDaddy spent on advertising before Danica took her first laps in a stock car, along with the media hype that has followed her.

Well as the story goes, the day finally came when the emperor was to show off his new clothes.

The weavers spent the better part of the morning pretending to dress the emperor, while convincing him that with each piece of clothing he was looking more and more magnificent.

The emperor himself looked from side to side admiring the work of the weavers, even though deep down inside he was doubting that the cloth even existed. Many of the NASCAR faithful are saying that Danica is good for the sport, and that she will bring more fans.

The ratings for the Nationwide race were up a significant amount for the race at Daytona, along with this past weekends race at Auto Club Speedway.

Television revenue is one thing, but how about the revenue at the track where it really counts?

Besides, where does all the revenue go? When it goes back into the pockets of NASCAR it does the fans absolutely no good.

The seats were still empty for both the Nationwide and the Cup race this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Where were the fans that she was supposed to attract? Probably at home watching on T.V. while saving their money instead of spending it at the track, that's where.

What NASCAR needs to do is bring the fans out to the track, instead of keeping them at home.

Another thing that crossed my mind was what good is Danica to the Cup Series when she doesn’t participate in it?

The Cup Series is where NASCAR needs to attract the fans, since this is their bread and butter.

Unlike the emperor who was made to believe he was getting the best material, Danica was given the best equipment and so far she has done nothing with it.

With 10 races left on her schedule, and NASCAR not allowing the teams to test, how can anyone think she can improve under those circumstances?

When do the fans get tired of all the hype, and when does the novelty of her existence also wear off?

Her NASCAR career is just getting started, and she has already dug herself a deep hole with her past performances. Kyle Petty watched her come down the aisle just like the boy in the fable, and as the story goes he called out, “He has no clothes.” How many more fans as the weeks go by will do just as the town did, and realize that maybe Petty was right?

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