Danica Patrick joins NASCAR

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Danica Patrick will race in NASCAR as well as Indy Car next year
Danica Patrick will race in NASCAR as well as Indy Car next year

Danica Patrick joining NASCAR may not seem especially relevant for F1 fans, particularly those of us in Europe.

But you have to pause for a moment and consider the scale of the missed opportunity. Here is a talented, female, American racing driver who, had things gone differently, might have ended up in F1.

Simply being the first female F1 driver in 17 years would have been a boost for the sport’s profile. But having an American driver as well would have been a marketing dream.

Patrick will appear in several second-tier NASCAR Nationwide races next year alongside her Indy Car activities. Inevitably this is being seen as an escalation to a full campaign in the NASCAR top-flight in the future.

Could things have worked out differently? Patrick considered a move into GP2 in 2005 – but instead chose the Indy Racing League.

Another American driver – Scott Speed – finished third in that year’s championship and graduated to F1 with Toro Rosso in 2006.

Any discussion about Patrick tends to lead to a debate over how good she actually is. After joining the IRL she became the darling of the category when she led the 2005 Indianapolis 500. In 2007 she joined top team Andretti-Green. But her detractors – every bit as vociferous as her fans – point out she’s only won one Indy Car race in 81 attempts.

We can discuss whether or not she could have been a success in F1. And, in my opinion, I think she would have found it very tough.

But what you can’t deny is it would have attracted a huge amount of attention and given F1’s profile a massive boost.

At least with Alexander Rossi and JR Hildebrand testing F1 cars last week the prospects of there being an American in Grand Prix racing in the future are looking brighter. Up-and-coming female racing drivers, however, are even harder to find.

Image (C) Indy Car

83 comments on “Danica Patrick joins NASCAR”

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  1. Prisoner Monkeys
    8th December 2009, 21:45

    Meh. Patrick never would have cut it in Formula One. She’s a great oval racer, but she’s noticeably lacking on street circuits and road cources. The only reason she gets asmuch attention as she does it because she has boob-shaped boobs.

    1. Totally Agree

      All indycar or champ racers that have come into F1 recently have been okay bordering rubbish. She won once in 81 starts, this translates into roughly no chance of a win ever in Formula 1.

      F1 drivers need to graduate through open wheel racing in junior catagories that race on the right kind of circuits or there just not sharp enough.

      To be honnested I’d much prefer the next women in Formula 1 to get there with race winning talent, blast the door right open like Hamilton did for black drivers. She’s a middle runner at very luckiest best an we don’t really need her.

      1. there r many F1 drivers with “no hope” to win a race in F1 according to ur calculation. why not kick one out and make a place for her. anyway, F1 is not a sport anymore, it is a show

    2. I wouldn’t call her great, in fact I’d call her pretty poor. She’s won a single race in 5 years in a spec series.

      1. Praveen Titus
        9th December 2009, 13:10

        Danica may not be great, but she’s at least the best of the rest in IndyCar, and the highest placed Andretti Green driver in this year’s championship, even scoring ahead of the great Tony Kanaan. That tells she isn’t racing just for fun.

      2. “Here is a talented, female, American racing driver”

        LOL let me shorten that sentence for you….
        Here is a female, American racing driver…

        she would have put her career in taters had she joined F1. I mean boobs dont win races, talent does. She would have shamed herself Badoer style, and lost the tiny glimmer of creditability she has managed to con the media into believing she has.

        1. Yaaaaaawwwnnn….

          I am so glad Danica didn’t join F1 and bring more shame on American race drivers.Scott Speed has already taken care of that for us recently.

          She looks nice but,she could never cut F1.Let her race the Budweiser circuits and show her figure off in the occasional magazine.She seems comfortable with doing that now.

    3. “Boob-shaped boobs.”

      Neil Patrick Harris FTW!

    4. I wonder if her problems on street circuits/road courses is due to the IRL cars lack of power steering? Not to be a troll and start anything, but physiologically speaking men have more upper-body strength/stamina than women. Therefore, she has to work much harder on the road/street tracks then the men do.

      1. they bent the rules and gave it to her for a season last year(?)
        But not this year..no difference in results.

      2. She does use power steering in her Indy Cars, and she’s not the only driver in the series to do so. She and I, also female, are about the same size, and I know for a fact that I would never be able to drive a stock car. So don’t look for her to do any road races in the Nationwide series. But I admire her desire to do so, and believe she’ll give it everything she’s got, without relying on her boobs one way or the other. AP doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

        1. Indycar prohibits powersteering, although Danica Patrick, the female driver does use powersteering. There is a strong possibility that powersteering will be legal in the 2008 season….
          Ok so they did make it legal my bad. :)

          Now add that advantage she had PLUS the fact she weighs half the amount of all the other drivers..
          She then had to bitch and moan about equalising the car weights like they do in F1 by including the driver weight…
          “Starting this season, the minimum weight for IRL cars will include the driver, and Patrick is the series’ lightest at 100 pounds”….”Patrick admits to having had a slight speed edge from weighing less in a sport where lighter means faster”

          SLIGHT!!! rofl
          Imagine RBR having a 75pound to 100 pound advantage over the rest of the field….get real lady.

          1. Umm, “will be legal in the 2008 season”?

            Are you writing these posts from 2007? Say hi to Marty, Doc and the rest of the Back To The Future crew :)

          2. It was a retrospective “post”(actually is a direct quote from 2007) referring to power steering not being legal ……and me being wrong…They have finally made it legal…

  2. I cant stand that woman! she is always yelling at someone about something.

    Shes just a driving bilboard, nothing more nothing less

  3. I think had she been in a top car she would have gone ok. If I remember correctly she won or finished on the podium at one of the FFord festivals at Brands Hatch before her IRL career. You don’t go ok in those festivals, where there are about 800 drivers all in the same equipment basically, unless you can pedal on a course that goes both left AND right pretty well.

    Not saying she could have or would have been WDC but she would have done as good a job as say Hekki did in the McLaren over the past 2 seasons. But for a struggling team she would have brought a massive amount of sponsorship and media attention.

    And I’m glad she has boob shaped boobs. What other shapes do you think they come in?

    1. I also remember she had a really big crash at Brands Hatch aswell. cant remember if it was the same raceweekend though

    2. she would have done as good a job as say Hekki did in the McLaren over the past 2 seasons.

      Thats a bit far! Heikki is one of the most underated drivers and has been the unluckiesst f1 driver for the last 2 seasons! Danica spins out on every circuit that goes right aswell as left-she’d the new Piquet!

      1. Heikki is one of the most underated drivers and has been the unluckiesst f1 driver for the last 2 seasons!

        I’d be replacing both “underrated” and “unluckiest” with words like “underperforming”.

    3. There are other shapes.. but the better ones are the boob shape boobs

  4. Simply being the first female F1 driver in 17 years would have been a boost for the sport’s profile. But having an American driver as well would have been a marketing dream.

    Yes it would be a marketing dream….. unless of course she turns out to be bloody slow.

  5. She ain’t that bad (on an oval).
    She had a bad season this year, but her whole team did, so that was more down to that I think!

    A woman in F1 would be a great addition, for sure she has to be resonable good, like Patrick.
    She fits the profile perfectly!

    1. Not bad when she only has to turn one way!

  6. Simply being the first female F1 driver in 17 years would have been a boost for the sport’s profile

    Can I do it then? :P

    1. Apparently you can, but you need at least drive in other major racing series

  7. Fred Schechter
    8th December 2009, 22:20

    If you bother to look at the IRL season ending standings, she’s the highest rated American, period. End of story (yes, someone will make a period joke, but I am above that).
    She does have “only 1 win,” but how many do other drivers have,, well 1, probably not so many either.
    Her euro experience is quality and yes, the Brands Hatch FFord festival is another great example she can flat out drive.
    How she’d fare in F1, who knows, but she’s dealt with all the hoopla. True she tends to get angry, you’d be too if you had that roving chicane Milka Duno in your way (honestly how everyone avoided hitting her all year is beyond me, absolutely the most terrifying man made racing hazard I have EVER seen).
    But I digress.
    She’ll do fine in NASCAR when she gets there, handling the media is a specialty she has as well as being a top flight driver(how would you do with that many media requests,, not well I’d imagine).
    As for her chances in F1, it appears we’ll never know. Clearly someone in a vehicle lighter than Heidfeld can’t be all bad either!

    1. Danica was also the highest placed driver in the IRL behind the DOMINANT Penske and Ganassi teams (they won every race except one) this season. No, she didn’t win this year. She also did not drive the best car or for the best team. There are plenty of F1 drivers who have never won (Nick Heidfeld immediately comes to mind) but are considered pretty good drivers. Anyway, lots of F1 fans like other categories and I’m happy to see an American racer mentioned! :)

    2. irl to nascar isn’t a automatic cross over sport. Bit like saying basket ball and volley ball are the same..indoors on wooden floors.

      it has taken Pab a few year to get his head around it, and Scott Speed is showing why he was dumped from F1 with his lack of Speed…there are a few other ex-indi/irl drivers that dont get results and were better talents than DP.

      I think she has the $ to hang around long enough in the sport because of her boobs but if she was a bloke the funding wouldn’t even be there to begin with.

  8. This is F1 fanatic Keith…. not NASCAR fanatic…….

    1. And many F1 Fanatics also follow, or at least have a casual interest in, other motor racing series.

      1. I second that!

    2. There were rumours of her getting an F1 drive (that no one really thought would come to anything, but they were still out there), so this is relvant to F1fanatics.

      1. F1 Fanatic, but also interested in things that relate to F1, is ok by me. Don’t listen to em Keith. You do a great job! :)

  9. she is no where near good enough for f1, when she came to surfers street circuit in 08 all she did was wobble round no idea what line to be on, and run around the back of the field. not f1 material, pr material maybe but no an f1 driver on talent thats for sure.

  10. As far as I know, to get an F1 superlicence, you have to win a single-seater championship. So far, she has won one single-seater race. A move to F1 will take a long time…

    1. Not quite correct. You automatically qualify if you win a single seater championship, and then only some of them count. Webbo has never won a single seater championship for example, yet he has a superlicence. Alex Yoong had a superlicence for crying out loud, and I’ll bet Danica is a far better driver than him!

      And she has won only one Indy car race – I think she’s won a few others as well.

      She is a whinger, yells at everyone, and she probably is not the best driver in the world. But she would have fitted in ok at some F1 teams and brought publicity to a sport which often in the past couple of years has got publicity for cheating, stealing of data, fixing races and dressing up like a nazi prisoner.

      Hopefully there’s a seat for Steph90 in the near future…

      1. Alex Yoong came into F1 before the superlicence rules were revised. They were altered a few years ago specifically to prevent pay drivers like Yoong from coming to F1 with too little experience. I think the rules as they stand say you have to be a top three or four finisher in the IRL championship to be eligible for an F1 superlicence, so Danica wouldn’t get one just yet.

      2. Lol ! Thanks Clay :)
        Penelope Pitstop sounds like a very good racer maybe she could? If you’re reading this Penelope all the best and hope to see you back on here soon:)

  11. I would like a woman in F1. just not her

  12. I question if F1 doesn’t have a little too much ‘Machismo’ for a female driver to be comfortable and be treated as an equal. Scott Speed simply didn’t get along with his bosses at STR, and as an American who was an Expat for 5 years (1 year in Europe), I always smelled some clash of expectations/culture. Danica would indeed have a very tough time in F1. Rossi I feel is Americas best hope for a future, *competitive*, F1 driver.

  13. There’s a much better woman driver in the pipes, who has international road racing experience, who rubs shoulders in her home country with the likes of Nelson, Rubens and Fitti, who came up through karting system through choldhood and is now racing in American Indy Lights on her way soon to Indycar. Her name: Ana Beatriz.

    1. Do you mean Bia Figueiredo? also known as etc.
      Because ehhhh? even more average than Danica.

    2. My friend is Ana’s Race Eng, he rates her well, but not the next potential F1 superstar I don’t think…

    3. Bia Figueiredo (who recently chose to call herself “Ana Beatriz”) is a brazilian promisse for a long time (by far our best female driver ever), had a constant career through Formula Renault and South American Formula 3, but, in two years at Indy Lights, only won twice (once in 2008 and once in 2009), had a spetacular first year (Rookie of the year, 3rd overall), and could have gone directly to the top series, but stayed there and had a less relevant second year (8th in the standings).

      Anyway, her CV is good enough to get an IndyCar Series seat, like many other drivers who didn’t shine in the junior formulae but showed their full potential at the big stage.

      I’d bet on her for the future, and that would be great for brazilian motorsport.

  14. Danica did very well in 2009. While she did not win a race she did finish fifth on points behind penske and ganassi which is like finishing fifth behind Ferrari and mclaren.she finished higher than teamates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti.

    People that don’t like her boggle my mind. There is nothing to hate about a talented driver who is as competative as it gets who happens to be smoking hot. F1 missed an opportunity but I don’t think she wanted to leave the states anyway.

    1. I’ve heard the same thing- she probably could have easily had a good shot at an F1 seat, but never really wanted to pursue that route. Some say that she knows she’s not good enough, while she chalks it up to not wanting to travel and operate all over the world. In any event, it is interesting to ponder how her potential F1 career could have gone….

    2. Se was as constant and as winless as Lucas di Grassi, for example…

      1. And let’s not forget that the only race she won was effectively “half a win”: the Motegi GP during that transition from Champ Cars and Indy Car that saw another race on the same weekend at Long Beach with the remaining Champ Car teams running their last race…

  15. Keith said:

    “Here is a talented, female, American racing driver who, had things gone differently, might have ended up in F1.”

    Do not even hint at the possibility of her competing in F1; one of the the alleged reasons for her pursing NASCAR is the massive reduction of oval racing in Indy Cars. She is marginal in Indy Cars and totally inadequate on the road/track courses used in that series. And they now have a fifty-fifty split between ovals and tracks. And before anyone states “but she finished 5th in points”, it’s not representative of a winning driver. In NASCAR, 5th is a big deal, worth millions in winnings, but not in Indy Cars. Get the picture? It’s all about the $$$$$.

    If she were half as talented on track as in her marketing of her sex and appearance she’d be a female Schumy. But alas, she’s not. I also predict she’ll be a back marker in NASCAR Sprint, only producing headlines in controversies with other drivers. She might make a few initial waves in ARCA or Nationwide, where the cars are lighter and horsepower lower, but she will be a footnote in the history of top NASCAR series racing.

    I will gladly offer mea culpas’s galore if wrong.

  16. I think the only woman that has a chance to make it to F1 any time soon is Buemi’s female cousin. I forget her name, but the point is that she is likely the best candidate for making F1.

    1. Natacha Gachnang. Didn’t set the world alight in F2 this year.

  17. Scottish driver Susie Stoddart is another woman who could get into F1 if someone were to give her a chance.

    She would be far better. And she’s got a bit of talent, and races on circuits, not round and round on ovals.

    1. Thought Kathy Legge would have been a better choice in the past. She did have a test with Minardi, if I remember correctly. But she hasn’t done that well in DTM.

  18. No kidding. Manager Andretti Jr. Learn’t the hard way.Pass on the advice and save the embarrassment. Skills required else do not apply

  19. Danica Patrick: American, Female, racing driver, good on tracks that just go left, no so good on tracks that also have right hand corners.

    Sorry, but she wouldn’t cut it in F1. The chances of her making it to F1 went out the window when she decided not to drive in GP2.

  20. For as much as I have bashed Danica and her talents on here in the past, I will admit to the following:

    – She was the highest-placed American in IndyCar this year, and did beat her teamamte and sometimes-F1 prospect Marco Andretti on a regular basis. She lagged behind the elite drivers (Dixon, Dario, Helio, Kanaan) but was at least more consistent than past seasons.
    – In terms of moving to NASCAR, she’s taking a sensable approach for several reasons. First, stock cars are a WAY different breed of racing than either F1 or IndyCar….just ask JV, Dario, or JPM on how different it is when jumping in at the Sprint Cup level. With the ARCA and Nationwide races, she can learn at her own pace. If the whole thing blows up and sinks on her, so what…she just chalks it up as a failed experiment. At the same time, by running a full IndyCar schedule, she keeps the movement going that got her here to begin with, so nothing lost if the NASCAR deal dosen’t work out.

    I understand that Danica dose have talent, has accomplished alot more than many other drivers, and could probably accomplish something to F1 if she dedicated herself to it. What bugs me is so many people pushing her for an F1 drive where there are other young Americans with driving talent who have real ambitions of reacing F1…if some of them had even a fraction of Danica’s sponsorship and funding, we may see some of them on the grid already.

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