Danica to NASCAR?

BobbyFord

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IRL driver's contract with Rahal-Letterman expires this year
NASCAR.COM
July 10, 2006
05:20 PM EDT (21:20 GMT)


Danica Patrick could be trying to find her way into a NASCAR ride, reports Ed Hinton of the Orlando Sentinel.

Patrick's father, T.J., who manages his daughter's career, was roaming the Nextel Cup garage area Sunday at Chicagoland during the USG Sheetrock 400, exploring the possible interest of teams and sponsors.

"I'm trying to get her here [into NASCAR]," T.J. Patrick told Hinton.

NASCAR.COM's Marty Smith will discuss Danica's potential foray into stock car racing -- as well as Juan Montoya joining Ganassi Racing and the late-race bump-and-run between Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth -- at 8 p.m. Monday on ESPNews.

Danica Patrick, 24, exploded onto the Indy Racing League scene last year, nearly winning the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie driving for Rahal-Letterman Racing. But her contract with the team is up at the end of this season, and it appears she will not be returning to the team.

She reportedly is negotiating with other IRL teams as well as considering the possible jump to NASCAR.

T.J. Patrick and Danica's mother, Bev, were at Chicagoland on Sunday because "we've had some inquiries" from NASCAR teams, he told Hinton. They were guests of Roush Racing.

There are two full-time female drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series, Erin Crocker and Kelly Sutton, and Deborah Renshaw ran a full Truck schedule last year.

Shawna Robinson made seven starts in the Cup Series in 2002, the last time a female started a premiere series event.

The possibility of the female driver coming to stock car racing comes on the heels of Sunday's announcement that Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the No. 42 Dodge next season for owner Chip Ganassi.
 

barelypure

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She could well be making more money with this move. Montoya may be taking a pay cut for his move. Unless his ride is gone...
 

BobbyFord

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^ I agree. NASCAR is where the money is. It's where the recognition is.
Open wheel has been dead since the split.
Montoya's ride is gone. But he's going to have to step up to drive a 3400 lb. racecar. Open wheel is nowhere near as competitive as NASCAR Cup series is. Montoya will be in school for some time to come.
 
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Mopardh9

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Do you think the IRL will really let her go without a fight? She has brought a lot of attention to that sanctioning body in the last 2 years, without her the IRL is dead.
 

samcurry

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i'd like to see her and the Force girls driving. Now that would draw alot more in.
 

wolfcub

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McLauren just announed JPM put effective IMMEDIATELY. Supposedly it was a mutual agreement to allow Jaun to get started on his NASCAR carrer. Think that means Casey will be let go early??
 
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Mopardh9

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wolfcub said:
McLauren just announed JPM put effective IMMEDIATELY. Supposedly it was a mutual agreement to allow Jaun to get started on his NASCAR carrer. Think that means Casey will be let go early??
So are you saying he is released as of now? That he can race in Nascar Today?
 

wolfcub

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That is what it sounds like.

From Jayski

Could Montoya be dropped from F-1 ride? UPDATE out: The Spanish TV station Tele 5, which broadcasts F1 races is reporting that Juan Pablo Montoya may be dropped by McLaren and replaced for the rest of the year by Pedro de la Rosa. There is a certain amount of logic in all of this as Montoya wants to start preparations to go into NASCAR as soon as he can. The key point in all this is that McLaren is partially-owned by DaimlerChrysler and Montoya will be driving next year in a Dodge, an American brand also owned by DaimlerChrysler. Thus it makes sense for let Montoya get on with his new project and not force him to stay on racing in a series where he has no future and little to gain. All that is really needed is some kind of a financial settlement. De la Rosa should be able to score points, as he did when Montoya was out with injury last year, and he is sure to be highly motivated as he wants to convince the team that he is the best man to be Fernando Alonso's team mate next year.(grandprix.com)(7-10-2006)
UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya’s Formula 1 career may be over sooner than anybody thought after McLaren announced on Tuesday morning that the Colombian will play no further part in the 2006 season. The team issued a statement saying that test driver Pedro de la Rosa will take Montoya’s place in the second race seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen with immediate effect, starting from this weekend’s French Grand Prix. McLaren said Montoya’s departure was by mutual agreement to enable him to adjust to his new life in NASCAR.(itv-f1.com)(7-11-2006)
 

muggle not

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I believe the plans were for Montoyo to drive in Busch later this year. Perhaps it will come sooner.
 

wolfcub

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That makes sense since it seems highly unlikely Ganassi would let Mears go and put JPM in there with no experience. Let him run Busch all year and get the feel of the tracks and cars.
 
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Digger

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I think it's a go for Danica

Surprised I haven't hard about this on MSNBC, it's everywhere anywhere else I go. Anyways, a former Indy 500 champion and F1 chammpion Juan Pablo Montoya has been released of his driving duties in thte dying Formula One Series after signing a contract that would land him in Chip Ganassi's #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge next year in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series replacing Casey Mears, who is replacing Brian Vickers at Hendrick Motorsports.

That leaves a ride somewhere for Brian Vickers, right? Nope. Reports are circulating that Danica Patrick, arguably the face of IRL, will be going to Roush Racing next year in NASCAR. That report has been followed up with a comment from Carl Edwards (a Roush driver) saying it's says alot about the success of NASCAR if these two drivers are hoping aboard, and that's good. Today, it is being reported that Mark Martin, who is set to hang his helmet at the end of this year and go to the Truck Series before retirement, will race a limited Nextel Cup Series schedule next year. Mark Martin, by the way, is a Jack Roush driver.

Martin is set to be replaced by Todd Kleuver, an unsuccessful rookie who has yet to make a top-5 finish in the NASCAR Busch Series. That would open up Kleuver's seat in Busch.

Alot of Domino's stacked and they keep falling. My take, it's a go for Danica Patrick into NASCAR.
 
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Mopardh9

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Looks like the IRL will be reeling if this happens too. A lot of stuff hapeniing awfully quick....i don't know if it is all good either ?!
 
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DragTrips

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I think this she can bring NASCAR to the next lvl...just my .02$
 
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Digger

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DANICA TO NASCAR: NBC Sports reports

I want to start with saying that I'm willing to bet that NASCAR is working behind the scenes on this one.

NASCAR.NBCSPORTS.com said:
Father doesn’t always know best. At least that’s what my kids keep telling me. But even they admit that the old man occasionally says something that makes sense.

I hope Danica Patrick knows that, because at the moment, her father couldn’t be smarter if he were Stephen Hawking.

Go South, young lady, or words to that effect, is the message T.J. Patrick says he’s giving to his daughter, who is merely the hottest property in American motor sports. Go South and trade paint with the good old boys of NASCAR on the nation’s great speedways.
 
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vanzetti

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Any got any guesses who might be able to pick up Danica?

Toyota seems to be grabbing a bunch of loose ends these days....
 

BobbyFord

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Danica tells Dad..no to NASCAR BUT.....: Danica Patrick's father clarified his stance today: While he wants the Indy-car driver to switch to NASCAR; she's not so interested even though her contract with Rahal Letterman Racing is set to expire at the end of the season. "I'd be a fool not to want her there, and if you were her father you would, too," T.J. Patrick said after his comments last weekend ignited a media frenzy. "But it's not my decision . . . and I don't believe she wants to do (NASCAR). She wants to stay here (in the IRL), she wants to run Indy, she wants to win the Indy 500. That's her goal." Danica Patrick has been unavailable for comment. T.J. Patrick said he spoke to Danica on Monday so she understood what he told a reporter working for the Tribune Co.[Ed Hinton Orlando Sentinel/Chicago Tribune] "She kind of laughed and said, 'What did you do?' " he said. "It's gotten blown out of proportion so much. No one said a thing when I went with her to the NASCAR race in Phoenix (in April). She talked with (NASCAR team owner) Jack Roush and stuck her head inside Kurt Busch's car. No one said a thing."(Indianapolis Star) BUT: A season's worth of setbacks and upcoming free agent status has IRL IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick thinking about something she never gave that much thought to — NASCAR. "It's important for me to know what's out there and who is interested in me and who will give me the best chance to win," she told USA TODAY in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where she will be presenter at the ESPY Awards being taped tonight. "NASCAR is so big, how can you ignore it?" Patrick, 24, says it's been a "frustrating" and "confusing" season as Rahal Letterman Racing has struggled mightily. A year after capturing three poles and leading the Indy 500, Patrick has struggled along with her team's two other drivers who only have two top-five finishes among them. "My priorities haven't changed," says Patrick, whose contract is up at the end of the season. "I still want to be a winning IndyCar driver. If I'm given an opportunity to drive for an IndyCar team and win races, I'm going to do it." But if the right opportunity isn't there, she has her eye on NASCAR. "I think I'm capable to taking on the challenge, but it would have to be with the right team and with the right deal," she said. "Then I would consider it. Until then, I'm investigating what the interest level is."(USA Today)(7-12-2006)
 
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This Buds For Me

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DragTrips said:
I think this she can bring NASCAR to the next lvl...just my .02$
how? what's she done in IRL that makes her so great? She hasnt done anything yet....as far as im concered she's overrated...her best finish in 2 years is a 4th and people are talking about her as if she's the greatest thing since sliced bread!

look im all for a lady racing.....but what i cant stand is when someone is treated like she is because she's female....if she was a male....do you think she would get the publicity she's getting or that people would say she's the one of the best drivers in IRL?
 
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Mopardh9

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This Buds For Me said:
how? what's she done in IRL that makes her so great? She hasnt done anything yet....as far as im concered she's overrated...her best finish in 2 years is a 4th and people are talking about her as if she's the greatest thing since sliced bread!

look im all for a lady racing.....but what i cant stand is when someone is treated like she is because she's female....if she was a male....do you think she would get the publicity she's getting or that people would say she's the one of the best drivers in IRL?
My feelings exactly let her win an IRL championship then we can talk.
 
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Mopardh9

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Hmmm still not impressed....nice to look at , but can she wheel a CUP car?
 

buckaroo

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I don't know how she would do in NASCAR, but since she's said that she isn't interested, it's a moot point. But I do recall some years ago when a youngster with open wheel experience took the jump from Busch to Cup and so many of us speculated that he was moving way too soon. Now that he's got 5 titles, and so many wins, most of us, including myself, have forgotten what we said way back then. It's easy to speculate, but my feelings about this is that it's only being talked about is because she's a female. I don't recall this much being said when Paul Tracy decided to give NASCAR a shot.
 

barelypure

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Mopardh9 said:
Hmmm still not impressed....nice to look at , but can she wheel a CUP car?
No, no look beyond the obvious. Or, maybe it is the obvious. What is the demographic target of TV and sponsors? You can bet it's not some old fart like me. Danica would appeal to the 18-32 male who buys the products. In short she is a money maker because of her looks.
Why does Mikey not only continue but thrive? Because he can sell product to the TV and sponsor target groups. It certainly is not because he's such a hot driver.
Always, always remember, follow the money. And in this case that money would swirl around that plumber's butt.
 
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Mopardh9

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Come on all she is a poster, she can drive an IRL car ...i'll giver her that, but a tiny woman that weighs bearly 100lbs and stands five foot nothing is going to muscle a 3400lb CTS, Busch, or Cup vehicle around a track for up to 500 miles? Some guys can't do it! I know these remarks sound extremly sexist , and well they are because i'm only stating the obvious here. She doesn't want to go to Nascar because she has it made in IRL as long as there is an IRL. Women in Modern Day Nascar have never won a race at the highest level, never mind competed for a championship, IMO it won't happen for a long time. I might eat crow on this one, but she isn't the lady to be Mrs.Nascar.
 

Magnethead

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Mopardh9 said:
Come on all she is a poster, she can drive an IRL car ...i'll giver her that, but a tiny woman that weighs bearly 100lbs and stands five foot nothing is going to muscle a 3400lb CTS, Busch, or Cup vehicle around a track for up to 500 miles? Some guys can't do it! I know these remarks sound extremly sexist , and well they are because i'm only stating the obvious here. She doesn't want to go to Nascar because she has it made in IRL as long as there is an IRL. Women in Modern Day Nascar have never won a race at the highest level, never mind competed for a championship, IMO it won't happen for a long time. I might eat crow on this one, but she isn't the lady to be Mrs.Nascar.
I Agree.

When she and rusty shared that DP in daytona, her seat filler was at least 6" thick on the bottom so she could see anything. How they gonna make that work in a cup car? Although i will say that she was able to whield that DP around for the most part, but those are not stock cars, or anything near them.
 

barelypure

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Mopardh9 said:
Come on all she is a poster, she can drive an IRL car ...i'll giver her that, but a tiny woman that weighs bearly 100lbs and stands five foot nothing is going to muscle a 3400lb CTS, Busch, or Cup vehicle around a track for up to 500 miles? Some guys can't do it! I know these remarks sound extremly sexist , and well they are because i'm only stating the obvious here. She doesn't want to go to Nascar because she has it made in IRL as long as there is an IRL. Women in Modern Day Nascar have never won a race at the highest level, never mind competed for a championship, IMO it won't happen for a long time. I might eat crow on this one, but she isn't the lady to be Mrs.Nascar.
I found this on Danica from SI. They don't seem to agree with you.
Click here for the article
 
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Mopardh9

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I'm no expert and i don't even stay at a Holiday Inn, i read the article, and i would say that SI is pushing for this to happen...it is media hype. I think just about all of the media would love to see Danica in Nascar, just think what that would mean for media coverage if she were to say compete Busch or CTS for a full season. IMO this won't happen, she is positioning herself for a bigger and better contract in the IRL. At this point in her career i think it would be a huge mistake to leave the IRL. If....she wins the INDY 500 some day , then i think she would have the perfect circumstances in play to leverage herself for a Busch ride. The question still arises whether she can handle a 36 race schedule over a time frame of 9.5 months. I still think that is the biggest obstacle she will come up against. Physically i don't think she can do it, mentally maybe, time will tell. ;)
 

buckaroo

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Haven't read the article, but seeing that it is from SI, I give it no creedence what so ever. That rag is strickly stick and ball and what they write about other sports, especiall motorsport, is totally second or third tier reporting. Give me a racing magazine, any one of them, and I will give creedence. But I will agree with Mopar that this has really become a media thing, but also one that the France family likes as well. Another way to keep NASCAR in the headlines.
 

fergy1370

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Apparently Ed Carpenter thinks Dani should do fine in NASCAR....at least once a month.


Article


"I mean, you know especially if you catch her at the right time of the month, she might be trading plenty of paint out there," he said. "But I think she'll hold her own. Who's she's going to drive for is hard to say. I don't think she's leaving, so we'll see."
 
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Mopardh9

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fergy1370 said:
Apparently Ed Carpenter thinks Dani should do fine in NASCAR....at least once a month.


Article
I saw the clip of that on Cold Pizza this morning, apparently Danica took it in stride and laughed about it.
 

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'It's so big it's hard to ignore'
Patrick interested in NASCAR as next contract looms
Posted: Thursday July 13, 2006 7:40PM; Updated: Thursday July 13, 2006 7:40PM


Danica Patrick won three poles and finished fourth at the Indianapolis 500 -- the highest finish by a woman -- in her rookie season.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Danica Patrick loves the thrill and excitement of the Indianapolis 500, the attention and all those fans. She has dreamed of winning the top prize for open-wheel drivers since she was a little girl, a goal that remains unchanged.

But NASCAR features that fervor on a weekly basis with more money and challenges. With only six races left in her contract with Rahal-Letterman Racing, Patrick said Thursday a driver has to look at all the options.

"It's not a lie that I'm interested. It's definitely something that I look at because it's racing. I'm a race car driver. It's what I do. It's so big it's hard to ignore," Patrick said of NASCAR.

Patrick's parents were guests of Roush Racing last Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway for NASCAR's Nextel Cup race. Patrick said it was funny that caused such a stir. She went to Phoenix last year and almost got into a stock car before noticing a bunch of photographers nearby.

"Contract time is always interesting, and I'm lucky enough you guys pay attention to what I do. What I'm doing is figuring out what I'm up to for the next couple years of my life. Every decision I make is going to be based on who can get me a car that wins," Patrick said.

Patrick was patient through her first season on the IndyCar Series, saying all the right things about how tough winning races really is. She won three poles, finished fourth at the Indianapolis 500 -- the highest ever by a woman -- and had two top five finishes in being named rookie of the year.

Such production mixed with glamorous looks and charisma created "Danica Mania" with endorsements, commercials and magazine spreads, making her the most popular open-wheel driver in the United States. Just mentioning Patrick and NASCAR in the same sentence is enough to start fans pondering how she would match up with Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

Patrick said she has watched NASCAR drivers bump and rub cars, something she remembers only too well from her go-cart days when she nudged others out of her way.

"It's beautiful. I do like that. I do like that. Rubbing's racing like they say, right?" she said.

There's also the money involved with NASCAR, which is booming and hasn't had the problems of the open-wheel split that cut into an already diminished fan base and sinking TV ratings and scared away big-money sponsors. Both the IRL and CART-successor Champ series have struggled since, and have recently been negotiating a possible reunification.

Patrick said the split caused enormous confusion for fans.

"I don't even get it all, and I've seen it. I've been in it," she said.

The chance to win will be Patrick's top consideration.

Rahal-Letterman has struggled this season now that everyone in the IndyCar series now has the Honda engines that gave the team an edge in 2005. The team switched from Panoz chassis to Dallara before Texas last month.

The Firestone Indy 200 on Saturday night at the Nashville Superspeedway will be only their fourth race since making the change, and Patrick finished seventh here as a rookie.

Patrick, held out of the opener at Homestead with teammate Buddy Rice after the death of Paul Dana, has finished each of the last seven races. She has four Top 10 finishes yet nothing higher than her sixth at St. Petersburg in April and ranks 12th in points.

She said she understands that Rahal-Letterman really wants her back and is working hard for a contract that will work.

"My biggest thing in everything is that I want to win, and I don't care who it's with. I just want people that are going to give me the opportunity and spend every last dollar they have to make the car go faster and every last second they have on making it faster," she said.

"If they're prepared to do all those things, then so be it."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
 

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Danica is worthy of a trial in the premiere series of NASCAR.

Male or female, give her an opportunity and she either makes it or she doesn't. There are already drivers with personality in top rides and rarely produce, if ever, yet stay in the seat. So this is not all about whether a driver can win or not, it is about who sells the most product and brings the greatest notoriety to the sport. Danica Patrick is an easy sell to that end.

In addition, Danica Patrick has the desire and determination to be successful as a race car driver and although not all of us would agree what might be considered successful. If Danica can stay out of trouble, have one or two top ten finishes her first year, and elevate from there, she will be successful.

Definitely physical strength will be an issue but we all know, sometimes we are strongest when the chips are stacked against us.
I think Danica Patrick has proven to be one of the people who will thrive on the challenges faced. Unless she has to spend all her time beating off ardent admirers and horny fans. :)
 
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