Patrick on go for NASCAR
By Scott Adamson
Scripps Howard News Service
If those people who spend the vast majority of their time on Danica Watch are to be believed, Danica Patrick is headed to NASCAR. No ifs ands or buts about it, sheís switching to stock cars full time, leaving her lucrative career in IndyCar behind.
And her sponsor, Godaddy.com, is ready to help her make the move quickly ó yesterday, if possible.
Bob Parsons, the CEO of the company that uses a sleaze-and-cheese approach to advertising, has been telling anyone willing to listen that he would absolutely love to see Patrick permanently join Americaís most popular form of motorsports.
Parsons told longtime NASCAR writer Lee Spencer that IndyCar racing was like ěwatching paint dryî and hinted strongly that heíd much rather see Patrick behind the wheel of a NASCAR machine bearing the Godaddy.com logo.
ěDo I know for sure that sheís doing it? No,î Parsons said of the rumors. ěAm I happy if she would do it? I would be thrilled. Would I move with her? If I can stroke the check, I will.î
Also consider that she and Tony Stewart have worked together in NASCAR events. He speaks highly of her, she speaks highly of him ó and oh, yeah, Stewart is looking for a driver in 2012.
There was a time when I never thought Patrick would seriously consider making stock-car racing her vocation. When the subject was first broached several years ago, she talked about how the shorter IndyCar schedule was more to her liking, and she wasnít enthralled with the 36-race grind of Cup.
But then again, competitors ó and she is that ó are always seeking better competition.
And while in recent times NASCAR events have been witnessed by fewer fans in the stands and TV ratings have slipped, open-wheel racing struggles in the United States.
Yeah, the Indy 500 is still the Indy 500, but even what was once considered the greatest and grandest of motorsports events has lost its luster. Its TV ratings last year were the worst in history (and just 4.3 on Sunday), and not even the hype of the 100th anniversary of the race provided much of a boost.
And now one must wonder what will happen if this race ó and this series ó no longer has the Danica factor.
Despite a wild ending on Sunday that saw an 11th-hour crash by JR Hildebrand lead to an unlikely win by Dan Wheldon, the biggest news still involved racingís cover girl.
Was this her last Indy 500?
Needless to say, Patrick is in a no-lose situation.
The IndyCar Series would do anything and everything to keep her in the fold. Sheís not just the face of the sport but the figure, and open-wheel officials know that if they lose her, a sport thatís already a hard sell is going to be even harder to sell.
And NASCAR could always use a boost, and would certainly get it if Patrick were rolled out as both a sex symbol and a symbol of diversity.
That last option appears to be all but certain right now.
If and when it happens, it wonít be a moment too soon for Parsons.