(file photo courtesy nascar)
Here we go again, race fans. This weekend at Louden, N.H. begins Danica-mania round two. After four months at her “day job”, the IndyCar series, Danica Patrick returns to her apprenticeship in the Nationwide series.
The open-wheel “glam queen” of the IZOD IndyCar series precipitated a media frenzy in her first foray into NASCAR during the first three races of the 2010 season. Her first stock car race was the ARCA race at Daytona where she finished sixth, excellent for her first attempt. However, her learning curve resembles a vertical line, straight up! With finishes for JR Motorsports no better than 31st in her trio of Nationwide races before her return to the IndyCar series, she still has much to learn from the “door slammers”.
The buzz died down when Patrick went back to her Andretti Autosport entry in the open-wheel series. And it became a bare whisper when she got off to a miserable start in IndyCar. But a sixth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500, followed by finishes of second and 10th at Texas and Iowa, has buoyed Patrick and perked up interest again.
Longtime NASCAR crew chief Tony Eury Jr., who will again work with Patrick this week as she takes part in the New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, says Patrick is making all the right moves.
The New Hampshire event is the first of 10 more Nationwide events she is to run this season in the JR Motorsports #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, including the final six races – after the IndyCar season is over.
For the track in Loudon, N.H., Patrick’s participation is a huge ticket-selling bonus. Whether she’s running up front or mid-pack, the diminutive driver is a major attraction. Some people love her, some hate her, but everybody seems to want to see her in or out of a race car!
Coincidentally, it appears Patrick’s first appearance at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway race track will also coincide with the announcement that the IndyCar Series will return NHMS in July 2011 after an absence of 12 years.
Do not think that Danica Patrick will jump to stock car racing in the very near future, she still has two more years to go on her contract with the Andretti team, and also is contracted through 2011 to run the part-time Nationwide schedule for the team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Nevertheless, there may even be a Sprint Cup start mixed in there somewhere, you just never know! In any case, the fans in Louden, N.H. are going to get their share of Danica Mania, beginning this weekend.
What is you view of the return of Danica Patrick to the Nationwide series?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!