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DATE News (chronologically)
08/06/11
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Lack of wins doesn't slow Danica-mania  Carl Edwards has endeared himself to fans.

They love him because he wins, removes his sunglasses during interviews and spews a homespun personality that makes Opie Taylor look brutish.

Add loyalty to his favorable traits.

Edwards stunned most in NASCAR circles when he rejected an offer to join Joe Gibbs Racing to stay at Roush Fenway Racing, which introduced him to big-time racing eight years ago.

The Sprint Cup points leader made the announcement Thursday.

Maybe money was a factor. We'll never know. I prefer to believe it was as much loyalty to Roush as a penchant for Benjamins.

That leaves the racing future for Danica Patrick as the big story for race fans more interested in window dressing than dresses.

Those enchanted by Danica-mania will be treated to watching her race twice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from mid-October to early March.

Her last race as a full-time driver in the IndyCar series could be here Oct. 16. Most expect she will move full time to the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year, and that would bring her back to Las Vegas for a third straight Sam's Town 300, tentatively set for March 10.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants her to run each Nationwide race for his team next year after she competed in 13 last year and six this season, with six more on the agenda.

The big question should be: Who wins next in NASCAR, Junior or Danica?

And Tony Stewart, well known for his keen eye for female talent, wants her to run some Sprint Cup races for his Stewart-Haas Racing team.

You can't blame the owners for wanting Patrick behind their wheels; she's a fan favorite and attracts girls and women to racing. She attracts sponsors and men -- usually one in the same -- who drool over her.

In racing, even if you don't win on tracks, you can win at the bank, and Patrick has mastered the latter.

Forbes.com lists her as the third highest-paid female athlete. Her $12 million in estimated earnings ranks behind tennis players Maria Sharapova ($25 million) and Caroline Wozniacki ($12.5 million). The figures are for the 12 months ending July 1 and include salaries, prize money, appearance fees and endorsements, according to AutoWeek.com.

For Patrick, there hasn't been much prize money. What sets her apart from Sharapova and Wozniacki is the tennis stars are blonde, win and contend for championships.

A move up to NASCAR will pad Patrick's income by millions and allow her to zoom past Wozniacki more easily than Patrick does most racetrack foes and put pressure on catching Sharapova.

Maybe it's fitting that the best-looking racers with the best bodies in racing have been the buzz lately.

While Cup points leader Edwards is the total package, Patrick hasn't proven to be more than pretty wrapping.

At least not yet. Las Vegas Review Journal

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