Danica Patrick returns to the Nascar Nationwide series this weekend and there is definitely an increased buzz about it everywhere. There is no doubt her presence increases the visibility of the series in many ways, but this time, there doesn’t appear to be the high expectations for her performance like there was earlier in the year.
It is this fan’s opinion reality has set in along with the understanding that it isn’t easy to make the jump between Indy Cars and the heavier cars NASCAR runs. She isn’t the only one to try and make the transition between the two series and, at least for me, the results of her performance are no more surprising than those of Juan Pablo Montoya or Sam Hornish Jr and others that have tried. The difference between the two series is just that big.
When it comes down to it, I really do think many people set the bar way to high in their expectations for her. They mistakenly put her confident and, at times, somewhat abrasive racing personality from the Indy series ahead of what should be expected of her. Some think she has too high an opinion of herself and her abilities and that turned them against her from the start. So, does that mean they will never warm up to her should she decide to make NASCAR a more permanent home?
I don’t think so. We know there are many drivers that haven’t necessarily started off with a lot of fans rooting for them. A few names that immediately come to mind would be names like Darryl Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Bush. None of them came into the series with a bunch of appreciative fans, but eventually fans came to appreciate there personalities and style. That doesn’t mean everyone loved, (or loves), them but it does mean they did win fans over to them and they did that by the way they performed over time.
It is just my opinion, but if Danica decides to make NASCAR her home and spends the time it takes to understand the series and go fast in NASCAR, she will definitely be accepted by many. Right now, she has a few things that go both for her and against her. Some doubt her commitment to stock car racing and think she is just in it for the money. Those same people think she will be just a flash in the pan for a short while and then will disappear from the NASCAR scene and, unfortunately, they could be right.
Personally, I’m glad she is a part of NASCAR, but if she wants to be competitive and a viable part of NASCAR, in is this fan’s opinion she will have to make a choice to be more a part of the NASCAR Cup series rather than just an attention grabber for the NASCAR Nationwide series. Until she proves herself to the doubters by finishing at or near the front on a regular basis in the Nationwide series and being a more regular and visible face in NASCAR Cup, I think she has a pretty long road ahead of her and eventually the novelty will wear off.
Who knows, she may be the first woman to win the NASCAR Cup Championship if she decides to make NASCAR that more permanent home, but then, I think there are several women racers that would like to compete with her to claim that title and just may have a better chance at it than her… either way, I’m all for them… that is unless they beat out my favorite driver to do it…
See ya next time… Rusty
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 25, 2010 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and NascarFansView.com
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