Danica Patrick's popularity already fading in NASCAR?

February 26, 2010
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Is Danica-mania over in NASCAR-land?

Well, that may be a bit strong, but the Nielsen TV ratings for the Feb. 20 NASCAR Nationwide race would indicate that they have at least faded a bit.

The Nationwide race in California last Saturday earned a 1.5 rating nationall, meaning 1.7 million households nationwide tuned in. Not bad, but down from Patrick’s first Nationwide race in Daytona a week earlier (Feb. 13), which garnered a 2.8 rating nationally (3.1 million TV households).

In the Indianapolis TV market, the California race—where Patrick finished 31st—earned a 4.5 Nielsen rating, meaning 51,000 households tuned in. That also is down from Daytona, which scored a 6.9 (74,000 TV households).

But Danica-mania has another chance to blossom tomorrow when the Nationwide Series races in Las Vegas. Green flag drops at 4 p.m. (ET) and race is telecast on ESPN2.

After Las Vegas, Danica will take a break from fendered cars and go open-wheel racing for a while. The Izod IndyCar Series opens March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

  • ...and she's off the pace!
    By two seconds in the IRL's newest *hotbed* of racing, Barber Motorsports park in ALABAMA.

    This IRL pre-SEASON media blitz at Spring Training is killing me! You know times are tough when they close practice to fans and a hater has to scan the innerwebs closely to find any mention. Heck, even this blogs isn't even mentioning it. Ho Hum...another day in AOW, IRL / SPeedway Stylee!
  • I am not sure this comes as a surprise. New things always raise interest. They will level off slightly higher than they were pre Danica. If she does well in a race or moves to Sprint Cup Cars, the interest will pick you as well.

  • Fans
    Say what you want about NASCAB fans being Cletus the slack jawed yokel, but they can spot a phoney who looks down at them a mile away. In some ways, Ole Cletus is smarter than IRL fans...

    Bring on the F1 season. I'll wake up at 3 am to watch some real OWR. I wouldn't press the button on my remote to watch the IRL at noon. Too much effort exerted for no entertainment return...
    • Huh?
      Is anyone surprised by this? I'm not sure it even bears mentioning.

      Of course the Daytona races are going to get higher ratings than the race in California. It's the NASCAR Super Bowl, even if Danica was racing in the support races. Are we going to start drawing downward spiral conclusions on the IRL when the Texas race gets lower ratings than Indy? I think not!
    • Jim,

      Kind of hard to support your comments on NASCAR when one of the most popular drivers is Dale Jr.
    • Patrick is overrated
      I'll try again...Danica Patrick is an old gimmick from 2005 to try and prop up the IRL. The gifted her a win when it was desperation time. She is average at best, more than likely below average, benefitting from a team that gets gifts and has its act together. That's at the IRL. At NA$CAR, she is quickly proving to be just another below average racer. The fans could care less. She will be unemployed as a race car driver in two years when she is a NA$CAR wash out and the Indy 500 is no more.
    • oh yeah
      I'll bet she wins 3rd or better at Indy this year. Sports Illustrated cover is all that can save InDycarz.
    • Now the haters are branching out into predictions on NASCAR. And as with their IRL predictions, they will be wrong as usual.

      With even moderate success, Danica will be marketed strongly and Danicamania will grip NASCAR. You have to remember at a time where NASCAR ratings are even lower then last year, she is sitll bringing increased ratings to the NASCAR junior Series.
    • Which predictions?
      Which predictions?

      Tony was a failure? Fired by his own family. Check.

      The EARL is a complete failure. Ratings, attendance, sponsorship, manufacturer involvement and prestige all down. TV onctract on Versus for less than 300,000 households. Check.

      The reasons given for the formation of the EARL were lies. Check the number of ovals vs. road /street races this year. And 2 full time Murricans. Check.

      You have no facts to back up your lies. The only thing you have is CART is bankrupt. Check.

    • Holy Makeral!
      WOW....Brett, that was the greatest "slam dunk" in IBJ history. Broke the glass on the backboard with a thunderous explosion and everything...

      Scoreboard indeed.
    • Those weren't even predictions. Lets try Barnhart to be fired....Nope. IRL to go under in any number of years since 1996....Nope. Cart/owrs/ccws to come out as dominant series....nope. IRL to fail with loss of the stars and cars....nope....loss of Tony Stewart.....nope.....loss of Sam Hornish...nope. Helio to go to jail causing failure of IRL....nope. i could go on, but the girls semi state bball is on.

      The reasons for the irl were not lies. They were rock solid on. Unfortuanately over time they have been forgotten. Still more americans, ovals and american tracks then cart had.

      Good attempt at twisting the truth, but i have consistently backed up my claims with facts. The haters have not. Does $600 million ring a bell? Anyone get that link to Fred Nation saying that number? Didn't think so.
    • North of $250 Million
      Rock solid FAILURE. Rock solid SCREWUP. Rock solid DESTRUCTION of our sport.

      Keep reveling in your success of FAILURE.
    • Don't be so harsh on Brett, hard to be right when the facts are not on your side.

      Sorry, the scoreboard i see is is cart et al has failed 3 times, irl not so much. but again, cart does not really matter to you haters, it is the demise of TG, the demise of the 500 and the demise of IMS. You want it so bad you can taste it. Of course that is also why your last 20 predictions on the IRL going under have been horribly wrong. Hate has clouded your judgement.
    • We didn't start the fire...
      We fans want what's best for the sport. Supporting the FARCE named the IRL is not part of it.

      IRL has FAILED to produce stars built by Indy. IRL has FAILED with the 500. IRL has FAILED to be a successful business. IRL has screwed up the entire sport.

      WE DON'T NEED PREDICTIONS....just the day to day bumbling business practices of the Speedway ALWAYS entertains and provides PROOF positive the sport is DEAD because of the IRL. You can't deny it.
    • more facts
      Nazareth, Disney, Pikes Peak, and now Milwaukee have gone out of business due to relationships with the EARL.

      Oldsmobile went out of business after supplying engines for the hapless EARL.

      Fontana and MIS dropped the EARL like a red headed step child after the smallest OW crowds in history at the respective tracks for EARL races.

      Chevy went bankrupt after being associated with the EARL and Toyota has quality control issues after years of being involved with a complete lack of quality control at 16th and Jonestown.

      Tony George has been fired twice by his family.
    • Chief,

      Changing the tune once again? You guys have been all about predictions, this is going to happen, and that is going to happen, but when confronted with the facts, all of a sudden predictions are not important.

      You admitted yourself that cart put itself out of business. So without the IRL, we would have nothing. No American OW. Of course my interest in American drivers, on ovals on American tracks sounds very different from your idea of what OW should be, so obviously we would never agree on what it should be.
    • You know, the last time this arguement was tried it was done better. This attempt is laughable.

      NASCAR ran at Nazareth and Pikes Peak, i guess they are guilty as well?

      Chevy, Toyota and Dodge are all running NASCAR, something tells me that would have a more direct effect on their recent troubles.

      Lets talk about fallen flags, sure IRL had Oldsmobile, but NASCAR had them, but also Pontiac, Nash, AMC, Hudson, Desoto, Edsel, and Plymouth.

      Lets continue to play your game and see what other famous tracks NASCAR shut down. Rockingham, Birmingham, Riverside, North Wilkesboro, Myrtle Beach, Music City, Texas World and Ontario just to name a few.

      So either this shows how laughable your post is, or NASCAR is more hazardous to manufacturers and tracks than the IRL ever was.
    • Dover actually smallest crowd
      Dover in '99 was actually the smallest crowd for the IRL. Fontana and MIS were close, but Dover gets the Tony Cup. I was there. There is an Applebee's near the track and the night before the race a couple Dover official's were in there. I spoke with them briefly by the bar and recall three comments. 1) What a "super nice" guy Stephan Gregoire was. 2) Harry Gant thought the IRL would be good there. 3) That the track had only sold approx. 5,000 actual tickets. 5,000. The rest were corporate comps, some local politician types, and assorted freebies, plus friends and family for a whopping 10,000 in the stands. Fontana in 2005 officially sold approx. 15,000 tickets. 15,000 Actual sales. 25,000, give or take a couple grand, actaully attended the race. Don't know the stats for MIS but they had to be similar.
      • Hmmm
        So, IRL style oval racing was rejected at 14 oval tracks and Tony George based the need to start the IRL because all these oval tracks needed races.

        NOT successful was the IRL, were they?
      • Burl,

        Did you ask what the walk up sales were? Never trust track officials that eat at Applebees or Dennys.
      • Chief,

        Tony started the IRL to give American racers a chance to race on ovals in America. They still do that.

        How many tracks rejected cart? All of them. As did racers, owners, sponsors, fans, investors etc... As you stated, cart killed cart.
      • baloney
        You were duped. IRL failed at every one of it's visons.

        Great oval opportunities in Dubai, Baltimore and Barber motorsports park. Certainly all places clamouring for IRL action.
        But cart is still dead.
      • Again, is there more ovals, American tracks and Americans in the IRL than were in cart? Exactly. The vision may have dimmed, but it is still there. cart would have died with or without the IRL, you said it yourself. At least OW did not die with it.
        Hehheehehhe....SUCCESS in the IRL is spelled out by staying ahead of CART.

        CART OWNS YOU. The SEVEN year old DEAD AOW SERIES dictates EVERYTHING the IRL does. And Indyman laps it up! $600 million...prove it didn't happen.
      • cart owns nothing but a bunch of unpaid bills. success for the IRL is spelled still being in business because they realized cart was in a death spiral.

        weren't you the one who said Nation said $600 million? How exactly do you prove something did not happen? Prove the moon did not turn blue last night. i guess it really burns you that contrary to all of your hopes, prayers and wishes, the IRL is not just having a 2010 season, but they have you talking about their 2011 season. i guess there goes another prediction. Must really suck for you. Just back away from the gun, it is not worth it.
      • You can't stop
        You can't stop talking about CART. You're so bitter that CART existed and yet at the same time your IRL series IS essentially CART with crappy cars, horrible management, bad decision making, hypocrisy, no recognizable drivers, bad attendance, tiny TV ratings, ride-buyers, lesser ovals (but more than CART), etc, etc, etc. Waaaaaah!

        It really SUCKS for YOU to live in the shadow of CART and have to constantly look behind you to cover up the failures of today's IRL with anything to make the IRL look better. Fred Nation, is that you, iman?
      • Burl
        Burl, I was at the 99 Dover IRL race also. The reason that they sold so few tickets to the 99 race was because of the 98 Dover IRL race, which I also attended. After the 98 race was over, you had to wake up the people in the stands and tell them that the race was over, the ones that hadn't already left.
      • Swiss Miss
        Simona de Silvestro. I like it when something SO counter to the VISION Indyman spouts off aboout takes place.

        In 1995, CART (in an apparent DEATH SPIRAL, as referenced by Indyman) had:

        - SEVEN legacy AOW ovals on schedule. (not that contrived NASCAR banked oval crap either)

        - ELEVEN Americans racing FULLTIME.

        - THREE chassis makers.

        - THREE engine manufacturers.

        Sure Indyman, that was excellent reason to start the IRL, you know, CART death spiral and all. Bwahahhahahhahahahhahahahahaahhahaha!
      • While i wish she was American, there is a good chance the IRL is bringing in the next Danica. what you have is the same owners who brought so many foreigners into cart are continuing that in the IRL.

        "apparent" death spiral? You said cart killed cart. even you admit it was in a death spiral.

        So how long after 1995 did cart have a couple of token ovals, no Americans, one chassis maker, one engine manufacturer and buying time on tv? Can you say Death Spiral?

      • Maybe this...
        Why doesn't the IRL issue rewards to car owners who hire Americans? You'd think if the Speedway was REALLY in control they'd dump street races and hire Americans, right Indyman?

        Why is the speedway powerless now that they have all the power? They are the center of the AOW universe...and they let foreigners run this deal. The Speedway should 25/8 it's self back into POWER. Bwaahhahhahhahaha!
      • Or how about this...
        Indy "American Driver Quota Program"...25 Americanos and the rest furriners! 67% Americans to 33% furriners at all other tracks. Indyman would EAT this up!!!
      • Do you actually read what you write? If the IRL or IMS funded the teams like you folks claim, there would be more Americans in it. But the former cart owners are back to funding off of ride buyers. The low hanging fruit as opposed to cultivating young Americans who would draw more fans to the sport over time. It is part of what killed cart. It is easier to cheer for a Marco Andretti or Robby Gordon or Sam Hornish that it is a Raphael Matos, hideki Muto or Ej Viso. Some exceptions are TK and Helio who have transcended into the characters the haters claim the IRL does not have.
      • Answer is: AJ Foyt
        Question: What iconic Indy legend and STAUNCH supporter of the creation of the IRL regularly (since 1996 IRL inception) has hired FOREIGNERS and RIDE-BUYERS???

        THE ANSWER stunned all of you, DIDN'T IT? Just more proof the IRL is phoney piece of crap and it's only supporter here continues to promote the hypocrisy.
      • Another Answer for Indyman
        I could care less who pilots the car...

        I want to see sleek racing machines with drivers running 10/10ths of their talents and the machines capabilities. The IRL DOESN'T provide that. When you got slack-jaw rednecks announcing during the Danica race at Daytona that IRL is nothing but foot to the floor momentum racing....and echoed by an actual IRL announcer...YOU have an identity problem.

        Until THAT perception is changed..they'll be no peace in racing. Why is Indy and the IRL perceived as such? Because of the IRL's inception and over dilution of the sport to artificially produce "side by side, three wide) crapwagon racing. Trust me, it's NEVER going to emerge from this nuclear winter the Speedway is responsible for.
      • Yaaawwwnnn.... It must be getting close to Earth Day because Chief is recycling his posts again. We have been through this. If I told you flying the space shuttle was easier than flying a plane even though I have never been near a space shuttle, would you believe me? That is the same thing. put either one in an Indy car for 500 miles and then lets see how easy it is.

        What you want to see is cart, and you should be happy with the IRL because they are moving that direction.

        It does not surprise me AJ is running furriners. Although he has run his fair share of Americans, he is always looking for getting a good driver as cheap as possible. This is no different.
      • Not a leg to stand on
        Danica is bigger than Indy itself. How did the Speedway allow that to happen?
      • Wow I never thought you would be that foolish to make such a silly statement. The racing world is filled with people who thought they were bigger than Indy. The most famous or infamous would be the cart teams that felt they were bigger than Indy and could take it over. As we can see Mario, Roger, Chip, and the rest were shown their place in the racing world. The good thing is Danica is not stupid enough, nor conceited enough to think she is bigger.

        Remember these famous words from the biggest legend in racing, "AJ did not make Indy, Indy made AJ". Few had heard of Danica before she ran IRL, but after she finished 4th at Indy she was a household name. You could say NASCAR did not make Danica, Indy made Danica. Same with Helio, Tony Stewart and on and on. That just kills you to hear that, doesn't it?

      • Who has Indy MADE?
        Prattle off the household names associated with either winning the 500 or the IRL champeenchip since 1996.

        Danica is a stripper who's barely clad bod has won her accolades BECAUSE it's not about the racing she does.

        Helio is MORE famous for being on Dancing With The Stars than having won 3 500's. He's Brazillian and has an offshore tax shelter too.

        Sam Hornish...is a washed up NASCAR sellout and IRL abandonee.

        Tony Stewart...is a NASCAR sellout and IRL evacuee.

        You all keep on living off ol' AJ Foyt and his statement....because Jimmy Johnson or Jeff Gordon or whoever NASCAR driver will eclipse the 4 time 500 winner because the speedway sold out to NASCAR. That puts the legacy in serious jeopardy.

        And the IRONY? In the effort to PROTECT the legacy of AOW OVal racing at Indy from CART types the SPEEDWAY sold out to NASACAR who parasited off the legacy to it's own benefit. Now, ironically as well, the IRL is everything CART WAS, but with bad cars and the SPEEDWAY in control. ANd an unfindable TV product, and no attendance, and street races galore, no sponsors etc. Why you ask? ALL because they started the IRL.....no new stars, no nothing. Just $600 million down the drain to prop up a disastrous idea that has failed and failed again and again.

        So, Dr. Jack Miller was entertaining and so was Tyce, and Billy Boat and greg Ray...and Eliseo and Cowboy Murphy and joe Gosek and all the other scabs the SPEEDWAY ran out on track (to the expense of HULMAN MILLIONS) for NOTHING today. No Stars....except NASCAR stars. And guess what? INDY is JUST ANOTHER race to NASCAR. Go figure..........
      • MY VIEW
        I haven't read all the comments, but I just want to throw my two cents in here, as I noticed a couple of CART/IRL guys goin at it.

        IMO, CART (during the early 90's) was the best racing series I have ever seen, hand down. I've followed about every series imaginable, but that series had about a 5 or 6 year run that was fantasic. The rich diversity of drivers, engines, chassis, tires, road courses, street circuits, short ovals, superspeedways....everything......just made that series a pure joy to watch.

        And then Tony George came along and screwed it all up. Simple as that.

        The IRL has been a complete joke. I will say though that I'm pleased to finally see Tony George out of the picture. And pleased to see to the majority of the races on the schedule are road courses/street circuits.

        I've been so desperate and hungry for some open wheel racing in north america that I actually tuned in to watch the first two IRL races. They do have a diverse driver base.

        If they put the technology aspect back into the series, I think it could take off again. But I'm disappointed to learn that they are taking bids to have only one chassis supplier in 2012, that's a shame. I'm hoping someday they'll see the light. I think open wheel racing in North America has all the potential to expode again, it just needs the right people to lead it.

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