Thursday, August 25, 2011

Danica is Coming

The worst-kept secret in NASCAR became official today, when Danica Patrick announced she will make the jump to NASCAR.  We'd known for weeks the details of deal, but Danica had not announced anything until today.  She will run full-time in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, and she will run "8 to 10" races for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Cup Series.  Remember, you can only run 7 races before you use your Rookie Eligibility.  In Nationwide, she will run the No. 7 Chevrolet.  In Cup, she will be sponsored by as well, but the number is yet to be decided.  Robby Gordon currently has the No. 7, and it is not known if he will give that up.

Patrick has been running in the IZOD IndyCar Series since 2005, and has a 10.6 Average Finishing Position.  Compared to NASCAR, that is an average finish of 16.9.  The highest she has finished in the points is 5th, in 2009.  Looking at her Nationwide stats, she has gotten better in just one year.  Last year, she had an average finish of 28.0.  In the 7 races she's run this year, her average finish is 16.0.  She also has 3 Top 10s and 1 Top 5. 

Danica's Nationwide car for 2012 (photo courtesy

The plan right now is for her to go Full-Time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013, but as Danica said, "Right now, it's a partial schedule for 2012."  It has been rumored that her Sprint Cup debut will be the 2012 Daytona 500, but nothing has been announced as of yet.  There is nothing announced yet that will allow her to run the Indianapolis 500 next year or not.  One surprising thing at the news conference was that no one from JRM or SHR was there.  Only Danica and CEO Bob Parsons were on hand. 

I honestly think she will do well in NASCAR, she seems to have a good handle of how these cars work.  She came into the sport and wanted to learn, unlike some drivers who come into the sport and think that these cars are easy to drive.  We'll see how she does in her last 5 starts in the Nationwide Series.  She will be running at Richmond in September, Kansas in October, and Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, all in November.  Her jump to NASCAR full-time has been long awaited, and I only have one thing to say: Welcome to NASCAR, Danica.

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