Danica Patrick could give NASCAR an energy boost

Jeff Gordon turns 40 Aug. 4th, joining Tony Stewart in the 4-0 club. Both probably have at least 5 more years of quality racing in them.

Nine of the other top 12 Sprint Cup drivers are in their 30s, prime time for racers. At 26, Kyle Busch is the kid in the bunch.

While the Cup series has more than its share of stars and the quality of competition in most races is strong, many observers, including yours truly, believe the series needs fresh new talent.

Regular readers have seen this before: hel-lo, Danica.

Reports indicate Danica Patrick is ready to move to NASCAR. She is struggling in the Izod IndyCar series: 11th in points; best finish this year: seventh. She only has one career win in IndyCar.

Speed Channel analyst Robin Miller recently said, "I don't think anyone in IndyCar thinks she's going to be [back]. We've been saying for 6 months that she's gone."

ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett thinks NASCAR would welcome Patrick.

"It would be great if she [joined NASCAR]," Jarrett, the 1999 Cup champion, said on a Tuesday conference call. "She has shown she has a lot of talent. I know she isn't probably having the season in Indy car that she would like, competing for wins. Maybe that will influence her.

"It would be great for our sport to have someone of her talent and persona."

Andy Petree, Jarrett's colleague and a former championship crew chief, also would greet Patrick, with one condition.

"I think she needs a full season in the Nationwide series, without any distractions," Petree said.

Who knows if Patrick can run up front in Cup races? Regardless, it would be fun watching her. Clearly, she would bring additional buzz to NASCAR. Philly.com

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