Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 12, 2009

Danica and a New Potential Bullseye

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:13 pm

danica-patrick-fhmThe most interesting rumor of the week has Danica Patrick leaving AGR at the end of the season to join the Ganassi team. Of course there is also a rumor Danica will go with a number of teams in NASCAR too.

What we know for sure is Alex Lloyd declared free agency from Ganassi primarily because he was not even doing that much test driving. Chip is being his usual coy self about all subjects. Danica to Ganassi makes a lot of sense; he should not have a problem finding funding given Danica’s huge marketing appeal. It seems logical that Target would want in to the Danica phenomenon, but they are steadfast in their funding of just two cars.

In that scenario, who gets left out? This is where the Scott Dixon to a new Gil de Ferran team gain relevance. Others believe Danica could be in a third Ganassi car.

AGR is missing a few elements that made the team regular winners in the past although I still believe the combo of Danica and Michael is potentially very potent. The bottom line, however, is that the team is not winning. Change is inevitable. The marketing potential of a Danica/Target alliance boggles the mind.

What Danica should not allow is getting talked into joining the fendered lumberers at the back of fields, ultimately becoming a point and sneer novelty for rednecks and arrogant IRL haters predisposed toward ridiculing drivers in the series about which they remain obsessed. If Juan Montoya or any other ex-cart driver can’t do it how can Danica expect to do it? If drivers want to make it big in NASCAR they need to concentrate on NASCAR from the short local tracks all the way up the ladder. Waltzing in and expecting success in Cup immediately is unrealistic. Even Tony Stewart started on lower rungs.

Silly season starts earlier every year as a TMZ-like mentality consumes potential fans. I’m most happy when there are races.


  1. If Danica goes to NASCAR, she’s raced her last Indy 500. A dream of her’s since childhood will be thrown out the door. She has goals that are driving related. It sounds like she really wants to build on her achievments in IndyCar. The NASCAR gig would simply be that of a poster girl.

    A pivitol momment in Indy Car will take place if she stays. If she goes, she’ll truely and REALLY become an item of over-hype and diggersk marketing tatics.

    The over publication of this issue could back fire on NASCAR if Danica stays in Indy Car.

    Seems to me we would have heard of her testing a stock car by now if she was serious about going. But what do I know?

    Comment by Mike Miller — June 12, 2009 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  2. I admit I want to see Danica go away, not because I want the IRL to fail, but because I don’t see a series where a mediocre driver who is a bigger punk than just about any man getting in people’s faces who then can’t respond to her because of gender roles while she gets a ridiculous level of attention for her tasteless ads as a success. (I admit I’m being a hypocrite because my site is through GoDaddy.) This isn’t sexism; I like Sarah Fisher. Sure, the IRL would get less attention, but it would get a greater percentage of positive attention if she were gone, and drivers could be hyped/hired according to their talent. Do you think the IRL being known as “the series where that militant but mediocre chick races” is really a positive development? I think her being gone would give the series more integrity, personally. I know she beat him at Rahal-Letterman both years, but is there any reason why Danica should have a full-time ride and somebody like Buddy Rice should have no ride, besides the attention she gets? (And Rice is hardly the only guy I have in mind…there are perhaps ten others who should have full-time rides before her). Therefore, Danica is basically a ride-buyer as I see it, only a ride-buyer who is being hyped well past the point of excess (really, the exact same thing applies to Dale, Jr. in NASCAR, to be fair…he has well-proven this year he doesn’t deserve that high-powered Hendrick ride). If she fails in NASCAR, maybe she’ll be humbler when she comes back.

    Weakening my argument, perhaps she is not as mediocre as I thought in previous seasons as I admit she is showing an unusual level of consistency this year and an excellent points position and may even beat Kanaan, but only because he’s hurt, and I think a lot of her improved results have more to do with Michael Andretti’s strategy calls rather than her talent (she wouldn’t have come close to a top five at Long Beach without the pit strategy call, for instance). She still isn’t leading in equipment you’d think would be capable of it. I don’t think she’d do any better for Ganassi. She’d have a series of consistent runs but she still wouldn’t be leading laps or fighting for race wins. She’s doing about as well as I think she can do, and I don’t think she’d get better results out of a third Ganassi car. I think Ganassi is doing better right now because they have superior drivers; I think Dixon and Franchitti are better drivers than ANYONE AGR has, including Kanaan.

    I guess a third Ganassi car wouldn’t be so bad if AGR was able to get a sponsor to replace Motorola. It would be an additional car on the grid, which would also give a deserving driver on the sidelines a shot. I’d be okay with that.

    And why do you keep talking about JPM being this massive Cup failure? He’s 15th in points 62 out of the chase and 5th among those not driving for NASCAR’s first-tier teams (Hendrick (I’m including Stewart-Haas here, because let’s face it, if it was really Tony Stewart’s team, he wouldn’t be leading the points), Roush, or Gibbs), behind only Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, David Reutimann, and Kasey Kahne among those driving for second-tier teams, in his third year in stock cars. Franchitti, Carpentier, Villeneuve, Speed? Okay, they were/have been failures (although none of them really got enough time to show their stuff). Hornish and Allmendinger have had some positive moments, but can’t be called successes yet. Montoya hasn’t been an overwhelming success, but given the weak cars he’s been driving, he’s fine. Put him in a fourth Gibbs car as has been frequently rumored and he’ll win a bunch of races and make the chase pretty much every year.

    Comment by Sean — June 12, 2009 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  3. Danica is having a solid year. which she needed. she is not in the top tier of drivers and im not so sure she can make it there no matter who she drives for. i think she will stay in irl and we will find out.

    but more importantly when the blog popped up i was like all right racing chicks and then i realised it was danica. the irl needs more scantily clad chicks everywhere–badly, but not danica. the chicks was one aspect that champ car seemed to get right imho.

    Comment by stand b — June 13, 2009 @ 3:05 am | Reply

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