Friday, December 25, 2009

Danica Patrick will be racing in the IRL and now in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010.

(Photo Credit: Motorsports Images & Archives via NASCARmedia)

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, yes it’s Christmas Day (Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays) and I’m talking Danica Patrick. It’s been one of those rare off seasons, I can’t remember the last NASCAR off season that the fans and the media have received so much news and all before Christmas time, let along before New Year’s 2010.

In the last three weeks, the NASCAR media has been in full swing since the recent trip to Las Vegas for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards banquet outside of New York City in 27 years. The NASCAR awards banquet was one that I actually watched and liked. It’s always cool to see NASCAR racecars doing burnouts on the strip and in the parking lot at the Wynn Hotel. And at the same time seeing Chad Knaus turn the tables on the media with his handheld digital camcorder, nice touch.

Anyway following the awards banquet, the news shifted to one of America’s Sweethearts, yes Danica Patrick has made it official when she first announced that she has signed a three-year deal to drive the #7 indy car in the IZOD IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport.

We all had to know that this first announcement was coming, but I was surprised that it took everybody this long to sign a three-year contract. Danica Patrick leaving the IRL and going full-time in NASCAR right now in my mind just wasn’t her, I mean she hasn’t finished what she started years ago. And despite the fact that I’m a fan of the IndyCar Series, I believe that the IndyCar Series will be gone by 2013 anyway, so she should enjoy it and so should the fans unless something big happens, remember this is a business.

However just days after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series banquet in Las Vegas, GoDaddy had a press conference to announce that Danica Patrick will drive the #7 Chevrolet in a part-time Nationwide schedule in 2010 (I believe I heard up to 13 races, but other than racing at California Speedway in February, no schedule has been announced.) Danica Patrick will be racing as a member of the JR Motorsports (JRM) team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rick Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury, Jr. through 2011. The deal includes running in the ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway in February.

Undoubtedly the news comes after months of speculation and to the delight of some. This past weekend at Daytona International Speedway, among more than 50 drivers at the ARCA Racing Series test, Danica Patrick turned laps on the famous superspeedway. From the reports, each day came with a new learning curve including drafting practice and that she did very well.

As a NASCAR fan and NASCAR Citizen Journalist Media Corp member, I could sit here listing many comments until I’m blue in the face including predictions, but it would do you no good nor myself to do so considering with the exception of a few test days at Walt Disney World and Daytona, she has no experience in a stock car, so I’m going to leave this incomplete. I’m waiting for not only the ARCA race at Daytona in February, but her first Nationwide Series race at either Daytona or California to really make any predictions.

So now it’s a wait and see thing, but welcome to NASCAR Danica Patrick, this is a performance business, let’s see what you can on-track and off-track.