More on Danica to NASCAR UPDATE #2 It appears to be the worst-kept secret in motorsports -- Danica Patrick is going to drive full-time in NASCAR next year. There has been nothing official. But if you believe the whispers, and they are steadily becoming louder and more widespread, then you know the announcement is inevitable. Patrick, who is in the final year of her IndyCar contract, said recently her agents are fielding various offers and, other than "random updates," she's not sure where the negotiations are headed.
Patrick, who will be at Daytona International Speedway this week to compete in her sixth Nationwide Series race of the season, apparently is headed -- one way or another -- to a new career in stock cars.
"I think she is doing it the right way, working her way up in the Nationwide Series," John Andretti said in a telephone interview last week.
She is expected to run a full-time Nationwide schedule next year while mixing in some Sprint Cup races. Andretti's advice: Don't get discouraged.
"The competition in Sprint Cup," he said, "is not one or two steps, but 20 to 25 steps more intense than Nationwide. If you look toward the back of the pack in Sprint Cup, those are still very talented people and great race teams. Nationwide is not like that. It's not the same level of investment."
"You've got to pick the right people, because in reality not everyone is going to be supportive for very long," he said. "The way the sport is, you have to get results. It's really important for her to get in an environment where they are going to stand by her, because there are going to be dark days for everybody. You are going to get beat up." Daytona Beach News Journal
06/19/11 Patrick, the most popular driver in IndyCar the past six years, spent the past two seasons moonlighting in the Nationwide series with GO DADDY backing and it's assumed that's going to be her permanent address in 2012 (with a few Cup races thrown in).
NASCAR has never had a strong female racer and most of the IndyCar paddock is resigned to the fact she's gone. Except IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard.
"Never say never. I really think she's still weighing her options,'' he said. "We don't want to lose her but I'm also realistic and money talks. She has to do what's in the best interest of her career.
"And I also think a lot depends on GO DADDY.''
Asked if IndyCar would get into a bidding war to keep the only woman to ever win an Indy car race, Bernard replied: "No. We have to be fair to everybody and we're not giving money to any driver.
"It's sickening that Dan Wheldon doesn't have a full-time ride and I wish he did but we're not helping him either.'' SPEEDTV.com
[Editor's Note to Randy Bernard: We admire your integrity Randy, but if Danica gets away there are those who will start the same false rumor about you that they started about CART when Jeff Gordon decided to go to NASCAR - it will be your fault that you let her get away.]
06/17/11 SPEED.com open wheel reporter Robin Miller joined Steve Byrnes on NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED Thursday evening to discuss Danica Patrick and Andretti Autosport among other things. Following is the transcript in part from the interview;
|Danica Patrick - will she go fulltime NASCAR where she will get eaten alive in Sprint Cup, or will she stay in IndyCar where, with the right team, she can win some races?|
On whether rumors are true that Danica Patrick is headed to NASCAR fulltime:
Miller: "We've been saying for six months that she's gone. I don't think anyone in IndyCar thinks that she's going to be around. I think everyone is resigned to the fact that IMG is going to take her to NASCAR. Where she lands in NASCAR, I think that's what is going to be interesting. Tony Stewart lately has been saying, 'I'd really like to see her come here. She's got a lot of potential.' I think that potential might be assigned to that GoDaddy paycheck, which is pretty big." SPEED
On whether she has anything left to prove in IndyCar other than winning the Indianapolis 500:
Miller: “I would think so … here’s the thing that is so crazy. She came up as a road racer and she really doesn’t want to road race anymore because she wants ovals because she knows it’s her best chance to win, whether in an IndyCar or a stock car - her best chance is on an oval. She never dreamed that. When she was coming up through Atlantics and stuff, she wanted to be a kart driver and road racing was all she cared about. I always say to her, ‘Isn’t is amazing you’re always screaming you want more ovals but you were a road course driver?’ But she says, ‘Yeah, but I changed because I have a much better chance on an oval than I do a road course.’ I just think the whole thing is she still loves Indy. Bob Parsons of GoDaddy was at Indy for the first time this year and he was pretty much blown away by the crowd and the race and the atmosphere, so I think you can see something like she’ll still run the Indy 500 but she’ll be a fulltime NASCAR driver. I think that’s what’s going to happen.”