It's not news anymore, but Indy Racing League driver Danica Patrick will soon make her first foray into NASCAR, which of course, is arguably the toughest series in which to race in the world. If not the toughest, it certainly earns the most money.
Danica Patrick coming to NASCAR could be a great boost to the series, which has shown signs of lack of interest among it's fan base. TV ratings have been down in 2009, as have ticket sales. NASCAR, like most other entertainment activities in America, has been hurt by the downturn in the economy as of late. People with less or no disposable income simply can't afford the travel costs, ticket sales, or even the subscription for cable or satellite TV that is required to watch many of the races.
A spark is needed to reignite the NASCAR fan base, and Danica Patrick could be just the ticket. It's been a long time since a female driver has raised as much emotion and banter among racing fans. Danica has a fiery personality, and isn't afraid to say what's on her mind for the most part. In other words, Danica Patrick could be perfect for a sport where many fans complain that no one has the guts to speak their mind.
Danica has already generated a boost in the IRL series TV ratings, and it's a safe bet that she will do the same for NASCAR when she makes her debut in the #7 JR Motorsports owned Go Daddy Chevrolet at California in 2010.
Former Sprint Cup team crew chief Tony Eury Jr. will be Danica's crew chief in the Nationwide series, and one has to wonder if Tony Jr. has jumped from the frying pan into the fire, since he has to know that all the racing world will be watching him as closely as they did when he was his cousin's crew chief,, that cousin being JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. I don't doubt that Tony Jr. is the man for the job, but it's likely to get pretty stressful in the spotlight he's going to be under.
Personally, I welcome Danica to NASCAR, and I hope she finds much success in its various racing series. I don't expect her to win races right out of the gate, but I expect her to learn a lot in both the NASCAR Nationwide series and the ARCA series.
I hope that soon Danica will be contending to win races, and then winning races. I hope to see her doing the same in the Sprint Cup series soon.
Whatever happens, Danica Patrick will be good for NASCAR. I hope NASCAR is just as good for Danica.