CONGRATS DANICA: Danica Patrick’s move to full-time racing in a NASCAR series will be good for stock car racing and good for Patrick. In 2008 in Motegi, Japan, Patrick became the first professional female race car driver to win a race.
There’s a part of me, as a huge supporter of Stewart-Haas Racing and its two drivers, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, that makes me wonder what do they have to gain with hiring Patrick part-time next season besides huge sponsorship money?
Stewart-Haas Racing started out strong in their first year together. Stewart-Haas Racing is not ready to become a three-car team, no matter what Stewart says. Dario Franchitti (Mr. Ashley Judd), the 2007 Indy Car champion and 2007 winner of the Indianapolis 500 made the jump to NASCAR, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing (before merging with Dale Earnhardt Inc.).
Sam Hornish Jr., a Indianapolis 500 winner and a three-time IndyCar Racing League Champion, made his move to NASCAR in late 2006, running several Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) races for Penske Racing. The next year, he competed in seven Busch Series races, with his best finish being a 15th place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 2008, Hornish moved up to the Sprint Cup Series and had a great first race, finishing 15th in the Daytona 500.
Hornish continued to race in the Sprint Cup Series throughout 2009 and 2010, but when his sponsor Mobile 1 left for Stewart-Haas Racing, he was left without a Cup ride. Hornish’s best finish in the Sprint Cup Series would come in 2009 at Richmond with a sixth place finish. Overall in his Sprint Cup Career, he had a 26.6 average finishing with a 24.0 average starting position. If drivers like championship drivers like Franchitti and Hornish can’t make it in NASCAR, what makes anybody think that Patrick can?
In the seven years that she has been racing in the IndyCar Series, she has raced 110 races with two different teams. Both were driving for top teams when the two drivers joined them in NASCAR.
One day after announcing that its lead marketing spokesperson, Danica Patrick, would switch full-time from IndyCar to Nascar beginning in 2012, Go Daddy has unveiled a two-year deal that would keep it running in IndyCar.
“Go Daddy sticking with IndyCar is a tremendous win for our sport on so many levels,” Randy Bernard, IndyCar CEO, said in a statement. “Go Daddy is a dream sponsor. Patrick has driven for Andretti Autosport since 2007, but now will align with JR Motorsports for Nascar Nationwide and Stewart-Haas Racing for Nascar Sprint.
According to Mario Andretti, “We admire how Go Daddy runs its business. The fans are great.”
“Imagine the marketing potential,” Parsons said regarding the deal with the Andretti racing family.