NASCAR fans would be thrilled to have Danica join their series
Danica Patrick received a near-unanimous endorsement to join NASCAR next year should she leave the IndyCar circuit when her contract runs out at the end of this season. That was the result of an informal poll of NASCAR fans taken prior to Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Patrick is one of the Indy Racing League’s most popular racers, though she’s only won one race in her career.
The fact that she’s been featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition and been featured in several television ads makes her one racing’s recognized faces and biggest draws.
But would she garner the same attention if she switched sides and got behind the wheel of a stock car? More importantly, does the petite 5-foot-2 driver have the physical ability to endure the heavier race car?
“I think she could handle it, though it might take her a little while before she adapts to this style of racing,” said Andrew Averill, 24, of Tampa. “It’s a totally different world, different cars and there’s a lot more to the stock cars. But I think in time she would be OK.
“I think NASCAR needs her. It would help the sport as far as the female fan base. That would draw them in."
It would also draw in a lot of men … of all ages.
“She is THE woman. She’s a hot woman driver,” is the way Robert French, 14, of Oacala described Patrick. Added French’s friend, Michael Ergle, “she’s a very great racer and she is very pretty. I would follow her and root for her next year if she was a NASCAR driver. She is definitely one of my favorites.”
Dayna Crumley of Atlanta is a season pass holder to NASCAR races. While he thinks Patrick would be good for the sport, he thinks she would receive mixed emotions from fans.
“I’d love to see a woman racing in NASCAR and Danica Patrick would be good for the sport,” Crumley said. “But she has to earn it. I don’t want anyone getting a ride out here just because she’s an attractive woman.
“I think the old-school NASCAR fans might resent her, but she would appeal to the newer fans and she might actually get a few fans into the sport.” Jacksonville.com
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