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DATE News (chronologically)
05/25/10
irl
Danica wearing out her welcome?
It looks like there might be another good reason for Danica Patrick to head to NASCAR full time sooner rather than later. She may be wearing out her welcome in the IndyCar Series.

At one time, Danica was beloved in IndyCar. As beloved as she was when she drifted over to NASCAR at Daytona this past spring.

And at Indianapolis in May in years past, she ruled. She always practiced, qualified and raced well at the sport’s most important event. Kids, women, casual fans, long-time fans; they all loved Danica.

People pointed and whispered when she whizzed past in a golf cart or a team tow vehicle. And they smiled as they did so.

Everything she did on the track was applauded. She got the loudest cheers when introduced pre-race and the crowd hushed when she was interviewed on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway public address system.

But over the past couple of years, there have been a series of small but not unnoticed incidents which have tarnished the gold. Things like spats with other drivers and foot stomping tantrums. And often, during times of struggle, a propensity on Patrick’s part to push blame towards other people.

That is exactly what happened Saturday at Indy. After a mediocre performance, and in front of a huge crowd which many agreed was the largest for Pole Day since the CART-IndyCar split, she got out of her car and said over the speedway PA; not my fault.

The savvy Indy crowd knew exactly what she was doing — throwing her team overboard.

Boos loud enough to bring the folks in the glassed-in press room to their feet to see what was up.

Patrick was clearly shattered by the boos.

A couple minutes later she was brought to the media room for a press conference and she couldn’t understand what had just happened. She said, basically, those are my fans.

NASCAR fans are just as savvy as are IndyCar fans. They love their favorite drivers but they love their sport and what it stands for, more.

Dale Earnhardt, the most popular driver in the history of NASCAR, found that out at Bristol one night. He wrecked Terry Labonte late in the race to get the victory. As he got out of his car in Victory Lane, the boos cascaded down.

Earnhardt looked stunned.

Patrick looked stunned.

Danica may reclaim what she has lost in IndyCar. As soon as this weekend when the 500 is held.

But unless she does what her teammate, Tony Kanaan, suggests and adjust her attitude, her move to NASCAR may be more of a retreat than a charge. Sporting News

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