Danica's next move her biggest

July 15, 2009
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danicaA Danica Patrick-Tony Stewart partnership. How long before some kind of volcanic reaction? It’s enough to make the media salivate. Sponsors are already chomping at the bit.

It’s true, Patrick was in the land of NASCAR early this week touring the swanky digs of Stewart/Haas Racing.

The possibilities for all concerned are quite intriguing—and no doubt potentially lucrative for Stewart and Patrick. The First Lady of the Indy Racing League would bring lots of attention and buckets of sponsorship money. On-track success, now that’s another question entirely.

Patrick would be wise to take up Chip Ganassi’s offer and stay in the IRL—for at least a few more seasons. And this is why. The absolute best thing Patrick could do for her career—and her legacy—is to become the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500. And we all know egos like Patrick think often about their legacy.

No matter what you think of Patrick, you have to admit this; She can run up front at the famed Brickyard. She already has. She can even lead what many still call The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. With Ganassi’s horse power, I think she can win it. After all, the Indianapolis 500 may be a great spectacle, but it’s not necessarily the greatest barometer of a driver’s skill.

If Patrick leaves the IRL now, she’ll find she will soon abdicate her throne as the best woman driver in open-wheel history. Whether its Indy Lights star Ana Beatriz or an older vet like Katherine Legge or a driver we haven’t heard of yet (I keep hearing of a young teenage Filipino girl who can drive the wheels off a car), someone sooner rather than later will give a capable woman the right car and chassis combination to win at Indianapolis—and that will be a first the history of motorsports will never forget.

And Patrick will learn this hard lesson: Star personalities like hers come and go. Riches can never really buy happiness and contentment—especially not for a high-level achievement-oriented athlete. Youthful looks fade. And her cover girl image will never, ever appear on the side of the Borg Warner Trophy alongside some of the greatest race car drivers the world has ever known.

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  • ...meh...I could run up front w/Ganassi power. She gets attention because of her chomosomes only. Let her go south...she will really go south then. She probably sees a limited opportunity in open wheel and since she has the aforementioned ego to deal w/fenders are her last real option.

    If she could really drive an open wheel car we would have seen her in sprint cars before now.
  • If she see's limited opportunities, maybe she's not looking at the big picture.
  • Big picture Anthony?  Pray tell?  Are we missing something?  Its no secret that the IRL struggles-so what Big Picture open wheel opportunity do you feel she has?I wish her well w/whatever she does but she is an average racer at best and if not for her chomosonal make-up I am sure we wouldn't her nearly as much about her.  Keep in mind that the only time we have heard about some of the past winners if the INDY 500 is when they have had behavioral issues hat warranted enforcement by authorities.
  • You can say it's her throne. I disagree.
  • When I read the headline I thought maybe she had taken a call from Hef.

    My apologies, but I just could not resist.
  • Harvey,

    Based on the headline and Joyce's comment I wasn't sure what movement was being discussed-and I'm not sure which throne.

    She's too smart to accept the call from Hef....
  • Danica is about to start the big fade out in the IRL, along with the league. She's a mid-packer with an ability to run at Indy well, which is the one race that matters. Why? Because Indy is easy. Has been for several years. She can win there for that reason, and Ganassi has the ability to do it. Beyond that, there is no place for her in big time racing. She is just not talented enough. An Indy win gives her the status of a champion at a time when a person of her limited skills can achieve it. The clock is ticking and the league is in trouble, but she should at least give it a try for the two or three years left of Indy Cars. Then she can go to NASCAR and drive around in 25th place and earn her retirement.

    The truth is Danica's brand stinks and this is the best she can do. Beside, racing, big time professional that is, is fading fast and is no longer a viable career goal. The sport itself, will be a curiosity, fourth-tier, semi-professional thing in a decade. Even NASCAR.
  • what do you call someone who gets angry and stomps off when they don't get their way? danica patrick ---> http://indybooks.net/images/stompit3.gif
  • Count:
    Indy is easy? Ever driven an Indy car, at 220 mph, with 32 cars around you? Ever made that left turn into No. 1 without lifting the throttle?
    What you do is easy, which is to hang around this blog and pontificate like you really know something.
    Patrick is fifth in the point standings on a team that is struggling. She went off to England as a teenager and made herself into a racer. She set a goal and is in the process of achieving it. Whether she's ever an 500 winner, an Indy car champion, a success in NASCAR, remains to be seen. But she has achieved.
    What have you done with your life that is comparable? Just curious.
    But it seems your greatest achievement may be to hide behind a pseudonym and take shots at those who are hanging their butts out in racing.
    Now THAT'S easy.
  • Empirically speaking, it's easy to argue that Danica is the best woman open-wheel racer ever, and I just wanted to make the point that her winning the Indy 500 would be a very nice capstone to her history-making sojourn. And I still maintain, that a detour to NASCAR at this particular time would leave that legacy to another. If she leaves before she wins Indy, and another woman wins it, what a missed opportunity for her. And if your face appears alongside Andretti, Rahal, Foyt, Unser ... that's pretty strong stuff for any racer. Don't forget the likes of Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have said recently there are dozens of NASCAR drivers who would love a shot at winning Indy. For those that care about racing 4-wheel machines, winning at Indy does still matter. Thanks to all for reading.
  • If she has any sense she will go to NASCAR for the big payday. She had a good run in Indycar and had several attempts at the 500 and not alot of drivers can say that. The money might not be there in a few years, she should cash out now.
  • I'm not sure Danica will ever win Indy unless she gets with Ganassi or Penske. Plus, using Dale Jr. as an example, you don't have to be good to be popular. Her celebrity status will keep the interest of fans and sponsors as long as she stays in the top 15-20 consistently. Dale Jr. - if he was any other driver - would have been fired by Hendrick. He also would never have gotten that ride.
  • Danica does better than 15 to 20, she is a consistent top 10 with several top 5's. If she won Indy, that would be bigger than a woman winning any other race. Even Daytona, due to the history of IMS. She would be an uber mega star and a major story. I agree with Anthony that she should hang in the IRL for a couple of more years.

    What would be interesting is to see Tony Stewart start an IRL team, or team up with an existing one. It is no secret that he still longs for a 500 victory. If he can continue the huge success of his NASCAR team, that would give him the ability to start an IRL team which would give him a great opportunity to run Indy again.
  • She can even lead what only a delusional few still call The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

    Fixed your erroneous wording there Anthony. :D
  • Yes, Indy has lost stature since the split, but I don't get why people are calling it one of the easiest tracks to drive. I will grant that the ovals are probably easier to drive than road and street courses and have more to do with having a superior car. But as far as ovals are concerned, Indy and Milwaukee are the only ovals left on the schedule (and Milwaukee is probably gone, sadly) where drivers have to lift and actually use talent...Indy requires much more talent than interchangeable cookie-cutters like Kansas and Homestead. Having said that, I don't think Danica is as good as her Indy 500 stats indicate...I think she kind of backed into her podium this year, for instance. The Indy winners list is still better than the winners' list at most tracks although Buddy Lazier and Eddie Cheever weakened it. There were no wins by Hector Rebaque or Kevin Cogan or Roberto Guerrero-type drivers in the CART era (although Cogan and Guerrero came close); there were no IRL wins by Jim Guthrie, John Paul, Jr., Mark Dismore and the like, while those guys were much stronger.

    Probably road and street courses have somewhat more talented winners than ovals, but as far as ovals are concerned, Indy requires more talent. The same holds true for NASCAR, as there have been no Joe Nemechek or Elliott Sadler or Jeremy Mayfield-level winners there...all but two champions and Rudd perhaps should have had one...

    For the record, I see her probably going to a third Ganassi car, but never winning Indy. She just doesn't lead enough, and I don't think the difference in Ganassi and AGR equipment is that much...the main difference is that AGR has much weaker drivers, and AGR's one elite driver (Kanaan) has been injured since Indy and therefore not having the same results.
  • Correction:

    while those guys were much stronger should be read as

    while [the IRL-era Indy drivers] were much stronger [elsewhere].
  • My former company used to do business with Ganassi’s main sponsor, Target. 75% of their “guests” (customers) are female. I suspect Target will recognize what this opportunity could mean for them and capitalize on Danica’s free agent status to put her in the winner’s circle more often, including at Indianapolis.

    By the way, if she did what Crownhilldigger suggested and “demonstrated her real open wheel driving talent by driving sprint cars”, she would just be another poor, bitter racer complaining that no one ever hires “real” talent in the IndyCar Series. Get real. Anyone with serious aspirations of getting to Indy stopped going the sprint car route decades ago.
  • The only way Danica is not in Cup next year is if she can't find a ride, she is wanted more for her marketing than her racing prowess. She and her father who manages her see the writing on the wall and know the irl has hit the iceberg. And the notion of Stewart starting an irl team is nothing but paranoid delusional ramblings. It ain't happening. Stewart can just wait till NASCAR buys IMS and the Brickyard is moved to May.
  • Brett what was that about delusional ramblings? Sounds like you are pretty good at them.
  • Bill,

    Indy is easy. The spec has made it a race that any reasonable racer of modest ability can at least participate in and finish if they have a modicum of intelligence and basic skills. Pit stops are not any easier than years past. But the actual racing or what is called racing by the IRL is about SCCA Pro level today. The start has even been dumbed down to make it easy. Marco can't even handle that. No, Indy is easy. Trust me. You REALLY should trust me. Hint. I'll leave it at that.

    You don't like my answer because it is contrarian to your Indy beliefs. I come here in anonymity to dispell BS and speak the truth, harsh as it is. Fact.
  • Bundy,

    My suggestion that Danica jump into a sprint car as based on rounding her out as a racer-not that she should jump IRL to Silver Crown. If she has the talent that everyone suggests she has she could be competitive in another format. The fact that her fans are of a similar chromosonal make up should not be a surprise to any of us-the fact that she could run the wheels of a variety of different race cars shouldn't either. Great racers love to race and therefore are typically competitive on Mini-Bikes, Go-Cart or Golf Cart. With Danica we will never know.
    As I said before-I wish her well.
  • Count:
    I don't trust anyone who hides behind anonymity and pretends to know.
    If you've got the bonafides, let us know. Othewise, you're nothing more than a poser on a blog.
    And answer the question: Have you made that left turn into No. 1 at Indy at 220 miles an hour without lifting?
  • Bill,

    To answer your question, yes. Easier now than last decade. Much.

    Thanks. And who cares what you believe?

    Fact is fact.
  • Count Tracula,

    I seem to remember you saying that immediately following Watkins Glen we would hear about Barnstormer losing his job. Am I wrong? Where's the announcement?

    I actually enjoy reading some of your posts, but you're losing credibility......
  • Count:
    Then you should have the gonads to identify yourself to Anthony and let him use you as a knowledgeable source about all things racing. I'm sure Anthony would appreciate the expertise.
    Otherwise, you're just an anonymous poser with no more credibility than anyone else on this blog.
    That's a fact. Trust me.
    And who cares what I believe? Obviously, you do.
  • Bill,

    I am here for fun. I speak publicly about our sport all the time. Try and figure out who I am. You see, I do not need forums for my personal ID and esteem. I am out there every week. This is for yucks and wisecracks.

    And no, I don't care what you think. Or anyone else for that matter. But you asked questions, so I answered. You are like another dime a dozen face in the stands to me.
  • You're still a poser with no cred.
  • Count Chocula,

    Love the dime a dozen face comment. Contributions like that only further reduce the sport you seem passionate about....if only to make a living.

    Anthony would be wise to look to a 'real' source....that is, if he needs one. ;)
  • JoBu,

    Nice how the inimitable Count evaded your question. Seems like he/she was more interested in defending his/her self. Don't you agree?

    The Count = Milk'n Doughnuts
  • BTW...I know it conflicts with the IRL race in Edmonton for those that are springing the cash for the Canadian Rockies, but a very decent event getting ready to happen in Chicagoland next weekend for any of you racing/open wheel fans (I have no connection to the event, just a fan).

    Anyway, I won't post a link, but the Autobahn Country Club is hosting an event Friday thru Sunday next weekend, you can Bing it. The Mazda's, Atlantics, GT3s, etc.. Should be a good time. Not decided myself, but I may be a 'dime a dozen' face there next weekend.

    Yeah, Berwick, scratching my head at the no reply as well. But it's probably better than hearing some half baked story about why he's wrong on that prediction. Something 'out of his control', but 'trust me'.
  • danicle will sign with peter windsor as 3rd driver, sponsor getter and anyuthing else she wants. mebber strike a deal to come back and run with legends like parko andretti and RayHOLE (RHR and Eye-vee too), but why on earth would she hang pon to this steaming pile of cpomp[lete POOOP that is EARL/500-LEEeege/ :lol:

    IRL: burn baby burn
  • F1 to Fold: Danica has rejected them
  • Hooey,

    You've flipped over the edge of insanity. The little lady's money is to be made in the USA. It's Ganassi in IRL or nastycar. Daddy Warbucks will see to that. Wouldn't be surprised to even see the sisty uglers of Hulman fame(sic) throw some bucks in. Nothing they would do should surprise anyone.
  • why would her lowness turn down two F1 test drive offers in the past 3 years?

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.