NASCAR stars spew venom at Danica Patrick coverage

February 18, 2010
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The Danica Patrick effect is taking hold of NASCAR.

The Feb. 13 Nationwide Series race in Daytona—Patrick’s first—saw a 33 percent ratings increase from last year.

The race, which started at 1 p.m. Saturday, earned a 2.8 national rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That means 3.1 million U.S. households tuned in.

That makes it the most viewed Nationwide race ever to air on the ESPN network.

Locally, the race scored much higher. In the Indianapolis market, the race earned a 6.9 rating (74,000 TV households). That’s more than double the local rating of the same race a year ago.

Apparently, more than a few IndyCar fans are tuning in. It also shows how strong a NASCAR market Indianapolis is. It’s often the No. 2 market behind Charlotte, NC, for NASCAR races.

Sports marketers at the race said people were lined up 10 deep before and after the race at the Danica Patrick merchandise trailer. No other Nationwide driver was even close to that kind of draw. Not even those that also compete in the Sprint Cup Series.

It remains to be seen if Patrick is a one-hit wonder and ratings will fade as the novelty of her driving a stock car passes, of if the legions of fans will continue to follow her throughout this stock-car season.

One thing is clear, there is much anticipation for her next NASCAR race, Saturday's Stater Brothers 300 in Fontana, Calif. There she’ll line up on the two-mile speedway for her second race driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports.

The run-up to the race has kept Patrick mighty busy. This week, she has appeared on “The Ellen Show”, “On Air with Ryan Seacrest”, “Good Day LA”, “CBS Evening News”, “The Bonnie Hunt Show”, “Chelsea Lately” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

But in NASCAR, like most big-time sports, there are no shortage of big egos. And a handful of drivers have already started to spew venom against Danica-mania.

Most notably, Michael Waltrip, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch have made biting comments about the exposure the NASCAR rookie is gaining.

Her following was most evident in the press room at Daytona. After Patrick crashed, 90 percent of the media there to cover the race, barreled out of the media center in pursuit of a sound bite from Patrick. The crash itself was nothing spectacular. By NASCAR standards, it was pretty boring.

A short time later, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. flipped his car and slid down the front straight on his roof, nary a single media member left to immediately check on his condition or get a quote.

“The only thing I will say is that TV has been doing a horrible job because they’ve been covering her way too much …,” Kyle Busch told SpeedTV. “You’ve got all these people watching TV and they want to hear about Danica. Well then take advantage of that and show the less-funded team, the underprivileged people that want to have funding so they can race the rest of the year. Danica is only going to be here for 12 races or whatever it is this year. It would help the rest of those teams that want to try to make a full run at it get the coverage that they need and the exposure that they deserve to try to race the full season. Just my opinion.”

I wonder if the grapes will be as sour in California as they were in Florida.

  • Woof!
    What's the difference between Danica and, hmmm, let's see here, say Chrissy Wallace? Chrissy is of the Mike/Rusty/Kenny Wallace racing family, all either NASCAR winners or champions.

    So what is the difference? I know...DANICA has SEX APPEAL. Since 2005 it's what has fueled the IRL's "buzz".

    I'm excited to see IF the IRL can capitalize on Danica's success in NASCAR. So far the IRL let her get they don't even spend $$$ to promote IRL races during Danica's NASCAR races. Sweet marketing tactic by the Speedway.

    Isn't it unfortunate the IRL, born on the VISION of providing opportunities (that CART didn't) to young American's like Jeff Gordon, has allowed TONY STEWART, RYAN NEWMAN, and countless others INCLUDING DANICA to flee the IRL series? See, that is how far the IRL has fallen...and it drags Indy with it. Like the moth to flame....NICE, another STUNNING success story from the IRL!
    • BABIES
      the little boys are crying like babies.... waaaaa waaaaa

      shows just how fragile their self-esteem is if they can't let someone else get a lot of press, bring millions more in sponsorship dollars and add the viewership and attendance at races.... waaaa waaaaa

    • give me a break
      This comment ââ?¬Å?It would help the rest of those teams that want to try to make a full run at it get the coverage that they need and the exposure that they deserve to try to race the full season. Just my opinion.ââ?¬Â? I find it to be a hollow complaint. Mr. Waltrip is now getting a TINY/MINUTE example of what it is like to be a female athlete in a man's world! So, these poor drivers DESERVE it right. That's not what women's teams are told when they say the "DESERVE" to have a team also! You reap what you saw brother. Be glad anyone is watching you at all.
    • Smart business
      Sports teams are a business and when everyone realizes this the better.
    • NASCAR Nabobs
      Leave it to an ego-centric, not a clue driver like Bush to bash Danica when she's attracting new viewers to the lesser NASCAR series. The casual viewer doesn't care about less-funded teams and wouldn't be watching in the first place if it wasn't for Danica.
    • narrow focus
      Sounds like some of the NASCAR guys need to wake up and smell the coffee. As other comments have pointed out more and new viewers to NASCAR is good and they should be happy if Danica can bring that. I can tell you Chrissy Wallace is NOT going to bring that. NASCAR is not enjoying the popularity it once did and if Danica can bring in new "fans" all the drivers of both the Nationwide and Sprint series should be happy.
    • Chrissy vs. Danica
      Who ran more laps/finished higher, 1st-race rookie Danica or experienced NASCAR driver Chrissy?

      How did Kyle Busch do in his first Nationwide series race?
    • DanicaMania - Flavor of the Month
      Early interest in Danica. Stands to reason. Media determines what is relevant and the masses follow. For now. But by mid-season, when people have lost general interest because Danica will trun out to be a solid mid-packer at best, the ratings and excitement will drop off. NA$CAR is yesteray. So is the IRL. So is big time auto racing as we have known it. It'll take awhile yet, but the days of this sport on the national radar screen are limited, Danica the Mid-Packer or not.
    • Wallace and Patrick?
      Come on...let's face it, Danica is much more accomplished driver. European experience, six years Indy Car...has improved in the standing every year to 5th in points last year and has chalked up a top 5 and a top 3 in the Indy 500...that means 235 mph and running with the big can't even compare Danica and Wallace...NASCAR is entertainment, Danica is entertaining win or closed.
    • Wallace and Patrick?
      Come on...let's face it, Danica is much more accomplished driver. European experience, six years Indy Car...has improved in the standing every year to 5th in points last year and has chalked up a top 5 and a top 3 in the Indy 500...that means 235 mph and running with the big can't even compare Danica and Wallace...NASCAR is entertainment, Danica is entertaining win or closed.
    • Free Publicity for the Sport
      I'm looking at this as an outsider. I hear the news, but don't go, watch, etc. I generally think of NASCAR as a hillbilly race (bring on the flames, I can take anything you dish out. The 500 is ignored as well.(I try to stay away from certain parts of town when this stuff airs. Consider me to have bad genes for car races.

      I look at it this way: I don't see her stripping to a g-string and prancing in front of the cameras. Publicity is happening because people are following it, regardless if it's in line for autographs or the media are covering some aspect of the race. If someone tunes in to watch her, they might find aspects of NASCAR which they might not have done before. Just because people tune in for her doesn't mean they can't switch to another racer.

      It's Free. Free publicity. Why they whine because the race doesn't focus on one of them is rather selfish. And jealous.

      If a male driver finishes 2nd, 3rd, or 4th in every race they are in, there's going to be a *lot* of publicity. Would everyone (else) whine like they are doing with Danica?

      What would make me enjoy races a bit more than I do? Punch it up a bit. 500: Let everyone run their trials, and on Carburation Day, allow changes to be made for the race, but no track time to test it. Sacrifice speed in the trials for a setup which would be conducive to aspects. There's more strategy there. Run fast in the trials for a better position, but take a chance on changes for the race. Too much preparation for the race, you risk not being able to get into the race.

      And: every race involving laps, whether it's cars, track & field, speed skating at the Olympics, anything: flip a coin immediately before the race: heads it's clockwise. Tails it's counter-clockwise.

      Lots of equipment in all sports is rigged to go one direction (only). Ice skates in the speed skating are designed to go counter-clockwise (only).

      Football allows for it - toss the coin - you choose to kick/receive & position on the field.

      Think about being prepared for either.
    • The Clash
      As The Clash would say, "Give the people what they want." And the people want Danica, not some back pack poor boy trying to make the show. It is a commercial enterprise fellas, let's not forget that. The Busch brothers are bush league and need to get a clue. This aint playin' in the sand box, boys. It's big business and you have to market what sells. In case you haven't noticed, Danica sells.
    • Baby Boys Crying
      The little boys cry because a girl is getting all the attention. Maybe the little boys would be better off going with there are no girls. Grow up boys girls are in the game and if you don't like nobody cares.
    • Mikie
      Michael continues to be in the shadow of his big brother. He should be proud of his own accomplishments and accept he is over the hill.
    • What do you expect from the prima donnas. The smart ones know that anything that brings publicity is good for all. but we are all used to whiners and complainers around here.

      Chief, let us know when Ryan raced in the IRL. While losing good American drivers is unfortunate, at least the IRL gave them the chance. Unlike cart which is one of the ingrained problems that caused their downfall.
    • Danicle's going to CABS, and there's nothing the gomerati can do about it! :woot:
      "Apparently, more than a few IndyCar fans are tuning in."

      C'mon, Anthony! Everyone knows there aren't more than a very few fans of the 'league'. Heh.

      That 2.8 rating isn't all that far off from the 497. Yet the few will keep insisting that IMS shouldn't be turned into a strip mall, which is completely ludicrous.

      I really hope she keeps getting better at running those Nascar sleds, that will only accelerate her departure from Anton's folly.

      Then there's earlman, still making up his own version of history, aka a revisionist load of babbling nonsense. Comedy gold! :rimshot:

      code = fmwhe
    • Crybaby Busch
      As an Indy Car and Danica fan, I will watch her every race that she is in. Regarding Kyle Busch's *INFANTILE* comments - I am starting to see why so many writers, bloggers and commentators refer to him as a crybaby. This guy needs to grow up.

      Regarding some of the other jealous comments from other NASCAR racers; on the one hand they admit that she is good for the sport & good for NASCAR and then go right on complaining that they don't get the same coverage. That is like an average looking girl complaining that she doesn't get noticed by men say like Kathy Ireland or Jane Seymour does...of course she doesn't. I mean Kyle Busch has the personality of a SNAIL!
    • Stan
      Stan loves to throw out the names for everyone he doesn't agree with. And his attempt at demeaning everyone exposes his lack of intelligence, compromise and compassion.

      Stan, you may be right in the end, but until that happens (if it ever does), can you just knock off the name calling and innuendo that you make up with your not so clever comments every time someone doesn't bow down to you?

      When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne W. Dryer
    • "load of babbling nonsense" Wow, I thought you were describing yourself with that comment Stan. I am still waiting for you to actually provide some facts (backed up by independent sources) to back your rants.
    • Weak $600 Million Sauce
      Great comeback indyman! Keep beating the dead CART horse. Rome burns while Nero fiddles...while IRL bred stars leave Indy behind for the bright lights of Charlotte, North Carolina. (That should read "Nero plays SECOND fiddle...")
    • What has she won?
      Danica has won one race - a fuel mileage oddity. She certainly wasn't the fastest driver. She gambled and lucked out. Before climbing to the big league she ran Toyota Atlantic, a stepping stone to AOW. What did she win, there? Nothing. Katherine Legge, another female, did what Danica couldn't do, she won two races, the next year. Of course Legge is more well known for a major crash instead of doing what Danica could not.
    • What has she done?
      Good for Danica! She's successful because she has marketed her sex appeal. PERIOD.

      And she's the biggest star in the IRL too. What the heck have any of them other IRL stiffs ever accomplished? Indy MADE Danica....bwahahahhahahhaa!
    • BOOHOO
      With the way some of the drivers are acting you'd think THEY have the hormones out of wack. Guess the only way they can think of to get on TV is to complain about the driver who's popular.
    • Hey Danica
      Hey Danica, I saw you "racing" in the NNS race at California. You're way out of your league. You'd better go back to the shallow end of the pool, better known as "Indy Cars". Apparently they fit your lack of talent better.
    • Cool
      Danica is the best ever...finished higher than all other wheeler in their first race.

      Did you see how Dale Jarrett and Marty Reid proudly exclaimed how much tougher it is to drive a stock car than an IRL car? They said IRL is nothing but a flat footed, turn left and hold it there series while NASCAR you have to brake..steer...and accelerate with skinnier tires and much heavier car.

      Creating the IRL and fostering it to this point has essentially removed any mystique to driving an open wheel race car. Being exposed for the crap the IRL is in front of 4.0 rating audiences (equal to 2009 Indy tv ratings) and NOT promoting the IRL brand is a FAILURE of IRL management. Thanks to the SPEEDWAY for making the sport a FAILURE under it's control.
    • 241 mph
      You know what sucks? Gil DeFerran's 241 mph lap at Fontana in CART, back about a decade ago....that sucks. Why? Because the 4th place Indy WINNER named Danica who finishes 30th in a 2nd tier Nascar race is MORE important than the 241 mph milestone.

      I blame the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for allowing it to all get to this point. Sickening.
    • The future
      Honestly, I'm surprized there aren't a flock of drivers coaches and managers scouring the strip clubs and Hooters of the country, looking for the next Danica.
      Why, those girls would make Danica look like a little boy, and thusly, get more media attention, which would lead to more sponsorship and be better for all racing in general.
      Strippers would have no problem getting naked in Playboy rather than just a swimsuit in SI.
      I'm telling you, there's a ton of money to be made here boys. It's the future of the sport... :rolleyes:
    • I found it interesting that the first two races of the NASCAR series were not sell outs. I also found it interesting that the announcers were talking up the fact that several cars did not have sponsors and then started shilling for them on national tv during the race commenting on how teams can tailor sponsorship packages to any price point. Economy is hurting everyone.

      Another interesting thing is has Dale or Marty ever raced an Indycar? Has Marty ever raced anything? It reminds me of when people rip on NHRA by saying all you have to do is to push down the pedal and drive straight. Then put them in a similator and they show they have reflexes of a grandmother. Each series has its own special set of skills. I mean running an overweight taxing cab 50 mph slower than an IRL car can't be that hard. Hell, if you screw up, just bounce off the other cars and keep on going.
    • Ask Danica
      "I mean running an overweight taxing cab 50 mph slower than an IRL car can't be that hard."

      Why don't you ask Danica Patrick and Dario Franchitti.
    • Makes my head hurt
      Funny thing is MARTY calls IRL races on ABC. So, he should know something about the IRL and it's momentum driven "foot to the floor" sleds. IRL, thrown under the bus by it's OWN announcers! Bwahahhahhaha....
    • GA,

      Or I will ask Tony Stewart or Juan Pablo.

      I always found it intersting that the OW boys like AJ Jr. or Mario could cross over to NASCAR and win with ease, but the cab drivers never could.

      Again, how many Indycars and how many NASCARS has Marty driven? Anybody can say whatever they want, I would rather talk to the drivers who have done both. They are the only true subject matter experts.

    • And I've always found it interesting . . .
      "I always found it intersting that the OW boys like AJ Jr. or Mario could cross over to NASCAR and win with ease, but the cab drivers never could."

      I've always found it interesting that Indy Car fans always cling to something that happened 40 years ago. I guess they have to, that was the last time Indy really meant anything.
    • GA
      George likes to bloviate. He has about 10 hanger oner's and they like to spill their swill everywhere. Don't mean much and ain't worth much. Trouble is, he has nowhere elso to go. He's just a mean spirited neckcar sufficinado.
    • Ok GA, I will go back to Tony Stewart schooling the cab boys on how to drive.

      If you have been paying attention, I tought things from all of Indy history.

      So where are the boys from NASCAR who have tried to run Indy? They quickly turned tail and ran. Too tough for them and too scary.
    • Stop toughting
      Since 1996 Nascar's elite don't have to do INDY in a crapwagon. Tony George let them have the track and it's historic legacy for nothing.

      Makes your point moot. Nascar drivers aint stupid.
    • Was he supposed to charge them for using the track? Not really sure why you are so upset by NASCAR running at the Brickyard.

      By the way, NASCAR has run at Indy since 1994.
    • Busch Wackers
      As usual the Busch brothers have found something else to cry about. It's clear these idiot's don't realize that the only reason they can race in the Sprint Cup is because CONSUMERS watch and attend the races. These idiots always forget that the consumer is what drives the market not their ego's!!! Neck car racers....
    • NASCAR is just as good
      Starting 1994 and exemplified since 1996, NASCAR has assumed the legacy. Now, winning Brickyard has as much prestige as the 500 (if not MORE).

      Foyt, Unser, Mears...Gordon, Johnson, Stewart? I ask you....are all EQUAL? All that get the press these days is NASCAR. And Danica....IMS destroyed everything with the IRL. NOW they are paying the price.
    • Seems to me the first Brickyard "exemplified" NASCAR, but I will give you a break on another mistake by you.

      When Jeff won his fourth Brickyard and people started comparing him to Foyt and Unser, he quickly stated that his accomplishment was not on that high of a level. He stated that winning the Brickyard is not at the same stature as winning the 500.

      You really should read more of your history since it sounds like you did not live through it.

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