07 August 2011

Danica Patrick Is Just What NASCAR Needs

It has been widely rumored and reported that Danica Patrick will leave the IndyCar Series when her contract is up and run full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports as well as part-time in the Sprint Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing. And if it all comes together in that Patrick will be driving stock cars in 2012, it will be a boon for NASCAR.
Say what you want about Patrick's driving skill, I'm not the biggest fan but she has improved in the limited Nationwide races she has run, there is always a heightened level of interest even among casual fans when she races. People turn on the tube to watch her and thus the networks follow her every move. Frustrating, I know, but the networks got to do what they got to do to get the best ratings possible.
And in a sport that has seen its ratings stagnate and fall as interest in the sport is at all-time lows, NASCAR needs drivers who can help draw viewers and Patrick has shown she can do that even for some of the low-level Nationwide races. With races seeing some of the lowest ratings ever over the past few years, NASCAR needs to pull out all the stops. And fortunately Patrick is coming at the right time.
How much success she will find in NASCAR is up for debate. It is critical for her to develop in the lower tiers of NASCAR before she hits Sprint Cup. She has made noticeable improvement over last year but there is still definitely room for improvement. Her development is critical not just for her career but for NASCAR as a whole as well. It will be interesting to see her transition into NASCAR as there is a lot at stake.

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