Patrick’s signing leaves IRL breathing sigh of relief

Danica Patrick still hasn't actually told anyone what her plans are for 2010 and beyond, but it's taken as gospel that she will remain an IndyCar Series driver for the next three years. The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday that Patrick signed a contract extension to remain with Michael Andretti's team, and Andretti all but confirmed the signing in Curt Cavin's follow-up story.

What does it mean? Mostly that a lot of people in a lot of places — the Indy Racing League, the league's television partners ABC/ESPN and Versus, the team currently known as Andretti Green Racing, and what's left of open-wheel racing's fan base, to name a few — can all breathe a big sigh of relief now that Indy car racing's most recognizable star is not leaving for NASCAR.

Although the IndyCar Series can boast of several world-class drivers, including Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and the rapidly emerging Ryan Briscoe, none of them captivate racing fans of all ages like Danica does. As Americans, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti have the potential to build a massive fan base to rival Patrick's, but they'll have to start winning a lot more races for that to happen. ESPN

Leave a Reply