This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. As predicted on these pages months ago, The biggest opportunity in Danica Patrick's blossoming racing career also presents a golden opportunity for the Indy Racing League to broaden its fan base. Patrick, 22, who in 2005 will join Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira in a three-car program at Rahal Letterman Racing, is a marketer's dream. Her fashion-model appearance and brassy attitude, bolstered by the driving ability she has shown at racing's developmental levels, will put her front and center at every stop on the IRL schedule. Ken Ungar, the IRL's senior vice president for business affairs, conceded Patrick's arrival is as good news for the series as it is for her. "We plan to work very closely with the team and with Danica. We believe she can have a long and very popular career in IndyCar racing," Ungar said. "She'll be a great part of our marketing effort to the demographic she represents." That would be females of any age and males ages 18-35, neither of which is a particularly strong market for the IRL. Indy Star 12/03/04
Based on our other rumors going to 'fact' that Danica Patrick will be a full-time driver in the IRL next year, does anyone doubt this rumor will soon be upgraded to 'fact' as well? 09/13/04
Rumor has it from our IRL informants that the series is secretly working on a new advertising campaign to include Danica Patrick. Although there has been no announcement by Rahal Letterman Racing or the IRL that Patrick will be driving Indy Cars in 2005, everyone with any common sense knows that is just a formality. The informants tell us Patrick will essentially become the new IRL poster girl, to replace former poster girl Sarah Fisher, whose career has essentially crashed and burned.