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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Danica Patrick bridge-burning tour continues

September 19, 2011
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The Danica Patrick fire-bomb tour continues.

The talk-before-she-thinks specialist is leaving IndyCar at the end of this season to pursue a full-time career in NASCAR, and at this point the move couldn’t come a moment too soon—for the IndyCar Series.

Patrick has been a draw for the series, but lately she—and her mouth—have been more of a distraction than an asset.

In the space of three days Patrick managed to offend Japanese and Brazilians alike. She also put IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard in the awkward position of having to defend sending the series on Sept. 17 to a Japanese track about 100 miles from the epicenter of an earthquake and tsunami in March and the resulting radiation leak. What qualified her to question whether radiation made its way into the food and drinks?

It doesn’t appear that Patrick bothered to talk to Bernard about what research he and other series officials did before sending the series to Japan. Yes, there was another earthquake while the series was in Japan, but I’m not sure anyone is very good at predicting those sorts of things.

Miracle of miracles, all the IndyCar drivers and team members came back., or are headed back, in one piece.

Then when Patrick was questioned by media members on Friday about making negative comments about Brazilian race car drivers, she claimed she couldn’t remember the comments. In a nutshell, Patrick basically said they’re reckless and haphazard. Her claims about other race car drivers being out of control couldn't drip with any more irony.

It’s safe to say Patrick won’t be a part of any United Nations peace-keeping entourages.

Seriously, would somebody get this woman a public relations specialist?

At this point, a crisis communications specialist might be more appropriate. Danica, meet Myra Borshoff.

I’m not even going to mention Patrick’s on-track record. But after this season in IndyCar, comparing her to Anna Kournikova might be an insult—to Kournikova. The Russian tennis star wasn’t great on the court, but she wasn’t nearly as offensive as Patrick outside the field of competition.

So off to NASCAR Patrick goes, where she won’t see nearly as many Brazilians or likely be forced to go to Japan.

Who she’ll offend is anybody’s guess.

The bigger question might be, what NASCAR fans will she endear?

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