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DATE News (chronologically)
07/10/09
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IndyCar Series drivers happy to have Danica around  Despite claiming to have "pretty good legs," Will Power probably won't be asked to pose in a bikini any time soon.

But the sometime Penske driver is glad fellow IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick has what it takes to grace the pages of a swimsuit edition.

Power, from Toowoomba, Australia, needs to raise sponsorship money and he thinks being on the outer edges of Patrick's shining star helps other drivers in the series find backers.

"She's a good thing because she attracts attention and sponsors to the series. And she's the real deal. She's a very good driver and does get lots of spotlight, but rightly so," said Power, who is technically the defending champion in Toronto after winning the city's final Champ Car race in 2007.

"It helps the series out having someone like Danica there and we can use as much help as we can in getting sponsors."

Patrick spawned a wave of "Danica-mania" when she entered the IndyCar Series in 2005. In that rookie year, she almost became the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500, but finished fourth after slowing on the final few laps to conserve fuel.

While attracting sponsors may be easier when you're not one of the guys, Power's predicament is a sign of the times, especially with the economy bottoming out harder than the Dallara-Honda IndyCars will on the bumpy 11-turn, 2.824-kilometre temporary street course at Exhibition Place in Toronto this weekend. The action starts today with practice sessions for Sunday's 85-lap Honda Indy Toronto.

Unfortunately, the rest of the IndyCar drivers may not have the Danica beacon much longer. With the 27-year-old Andretti-Green driver rumored to be in talks with several NASCAR teams for 2010, the IndyCar series stands to lose its most valuable asset.

"I think it would make it very difficult and the series needs to keep her as long as it can," said Paul Tracy, who will drive for KV Racing. "She's still under 30 years old, so I think she has time to wait to go to NASCAR. A couple more years of experience would help her.

"The more people she touches, the better it is for the IndyCar Series." Globe and Mail

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