NASCAR: Danica succeeds even when she doesn’t

I find myself looking at the results.

It may not be Saturday night after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. It might be Sunday, or Monday, or maybe even later in the week depending on how busy I am with my day job.

But I look at the results. Usually start in the lower half the top 10 and scroll down until I see the name.

“Danica Patrick.”

I never jumped on the Danica bandwagon. Always thought the attention she received was far greater than her talent commanded. Felt bad for better drivers who were lesser personalities.

I’m one of those people who think that the IndyCar Series will actually benefit from her move to NASCAR. Finally, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Oriol Servia might actually get a sniff from a reporter.

Although the numbers escape me at the moment, when Danica — would it be blasphemous if I referred to her as Patrick instead, making her fully equal to the men I write about? —  qualified on pole, it was most often based on a practice speed rather than an actual qualifying session. Rain was her qualifying friend. And when she won in Japan, it was because Helio Castroneves ran out of fuel without trying to save any.

To be sure, Patrick knows how to drive. She is competent, although she is neither the best nor worst in the field. She’s as competitive as any man alive. Yet she drove in the open wheel ranks with a sense of entitlement that she won’t be able to in stock cars. Not in the Sprint Cup Series, anyway. But midseason, when some unknown Nationwide driver is making it tough to pass, her personality will likely show itself.

Her early season results have tempered her optimism that she could contend for a championship right from the green flag. Perhaps she’s maturing. Under the grind of NASCAR’s three dozen races, she’ll need to.

She was never going to go to NASCAR and set the world on its ear. She didn’t do it in IndyCar and is even less likely in NASCAR, unless maybe Tony Stewart pulls over and lets her pass.

She has gone to where the money and fame is. No crime there. Dario Franchitti tried it. So too Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy. All were far more accomplished – all were champions – but have little to show for their NASCAR experience.

They didn’t burn up the NASCAR field, and she won’t either. But she’ll be given far more opportunity to succeed. The chance is hers to lose. She’ll be in the best equipment and be given every opportunity to infuse more life and more money into stock car racing.

No matter the results.

Which I check every week.

Just to see where she is.

Which makes her a success even if she isn’t.

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One Response to “NASCAR: Danica succeeds even when she doesn’t”

  1. Martin Henderson Says:

    Reblogged this on racescribe.

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