Is Danica Patrick Cut Out For NASCAR?
As a fan of NASCAR for nearly 15 years, I have spent the majority of my life watching fast cars speed around the tracks. I’ve seen the crash that claimed Dale Earnhardt, I’ve witnessed cars fly through the air like paper and I’ve seen plenty of drivers crash. However, I am not sure if I have seen anyone crash as much as Danica Patrick.
Before the angry mob with pitchforks and torches come to hunt me down because they want to accuse me of being sexist, I will offer plenty of statistical information that supports my claim: Patrick is not cut out for NASCAR. It is not a matter of Patrick being a female in a mainly male-dominated sport, it is the fact that she is not producing quality results.
Now in her third year in the Sprint Cup and her second full season, Patrick has an average finish of 30.7. That isn’t exactly championship-caliber. In her first full season last year, she had an average finish of 26th and only one top-10.
I understand that there is a learning curve between the open-wheeled Indycar Series and NASCAR, but this is her fifth overall year in the sport and she still hasn’t produced a victory at any level. Patrick didn’t even record a top-five finish when she was in the Nationwide Series. I know that Richard and Kyle Petty have been rather hard on Patrick, but they are right. She is not a racer, but merely a marketing campaign for Stewart-Haas Racing.
I know that there are plenty of other drivers who might be worse than Patrick, but do those drivers driver for a top-notch team? Do those drivers have a great sponsor, and are those drivers getting top-of-the-line equipment? Finances and quality equipment are not problems for Patrick. She drives for Stewart-Haas, a team that just signed two of the sports most well-known names in Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. She also has GoDaddy as a sponsor.
Patrick might sell merchandise, attract female viewers to the sport of racing and make guys fantasize over her, but she will never hold the trophy above her head in Victory Lane. She should have never left the IndyCar Series, because at least she had a win there.