Welcome, Howdy, Good day and Happy Memorial Day Gabbers and others!!!!! Just want to start out by saying thank you to ALL the fine men and woman of our armed forces who have served, are serving and will be serving this great Nation. Due to all their efforts I am allowed to sit at this key board to be a pontificating sports fan, wax poetic over my most handsome Knight of the Mobile1 Sir Stewart, yell pitting instructions to the crew chief through my TV, be an armchair QB or whatever I'm dreaming of on any particular day. Thank you for making my life possible. I have several uncles and cousins who have served. My Uncle Sherlock has his name on a plaque in the middle of town that has the names of all who served from here in WWll. Tomorrow we celebrate with picnics and family dinners. Hope all of you have a great one.
So that leads us to The Danica. Danica Patrick that is. I'm not sure what she's trying to accomplish but the hype has her squarely up front and center on every racing journalists question list and broadcasting booths on air banter. Every race she's in there's a Danica watch. One part saucy poster girl model and one part race car driver. Is she worth the hype? Is she trying to be a model or a serious race car driver or is she just trying to make the most money she can, have fun doing it and simply be famous for being famous just like the other poster girls Paris and KK? My jury is still out on that one.
Danica was born 3-3-82 in Beloit, Wisconsin to parents TJ and Bev. She has 1 sister named Brook. From all accounts Danica had a normal love of all things girlie including Barbie dolls. Until at age 10 she and her sister were given go-kart lessons. Danica became hooked. Her sister Brook? Not so much. So it was off to join the WKA for Danica. That would be the World Karting Association. By 1994 she won the WKA Grand National Championship in the Yamaha Sportsman Class. She also took 1995 & 1996 as well. Her final year in kart was 1997 and she won both the Yamaha Lite and HPV Class Championships.
In 1998 she moved to the UK to join the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series. While competing in this she made trips to Canada to spend time at the Formula Ford Racing School.
In 1999 she had her fulltime racing debut in the UK finishing 9th.
In 2000 her 2nd full season she finished 2nd at Formula Ford Festival. The best finish ever by an American at the British event.
In 2001 it was her last year in the UK.She won the Gorsline Scholarship Award for Top Upcoming Road Racing Driver. Also competed in the British Zetek Formula Ford Championship.
In 2002 she shopped around for an Indycar team and was signed by Team Rahal Letterman of the Indycar Racing League. She spent a couple years in the lower series Toyota Atlantic Series to prep for the higher competition level that is the Indycar series. When in 2003 she finally won a pole position and a podium position it was decided she'd be promoted to an Indycar.
In 2004 She placed 3rd in the Toyota Atlantic Championship.
In 2005 at the Indy 500 she was the fastest driver during pole runs and entered the record books as the first woman to lead in the Indy 500. She led 19 laps and finished in 4th.
In 2006 she signed with Andretti Green Racing.
In 2007 she scored 3 podium positions. Finished the season with 4 top 5's, 11 top 10's and a 7th in the Indycar points.
In 2008 saw Danica in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She also scored her first win in the Indycar series. The first ever by a woman at Twin Ring Montegi Japan 300. In the closing laps all the top drivers had to pit for fuel. Danica passed Castroneves for the win on lap 189 of 200 for that win. Finishing order...Patrick - Castroneves - Dixon - Wheldon - Kanaan.
In 2010 while still driving fulltime in Indycar Danica made her NASCAR debut in the Nationwide series at the Daytona 500 in the Go-Daddy #7. She started 13 races that year for a 28.0 average finish. She finished 10th in the Indycar points.
In 2011 she was still fulltime in Indycar but visiting NASCAR for JR Motorsports (Dale Earnhardt Jr's Nationwide team) in the Go-Daddy #7 for 12 Nationwide starts that led to a 17.4 average finish. She also finished 10th in the Indycar points.
In 2012 we have The Danica in her first official fulltime ride in the Nationwide series for JR Motorsports in the Go-Daddy #7 and a limited schedule for Cup in the Go-Daddy #10 for Stewart Haas Racing. So far she has 1 top 10 with an average finish of 20.8 in the 10 Nationwide races she's been in.
So now The Danicks has made it fulltime to NASCAR. She finished 12th at Darlington in the Nationwide Series and 31st & 6 laps down with the Cup guys the next night and that's saying something. The track was built when the cars went 100 mph but now they go 180 mph. The wall claims a lot of cars or sheet metal till the race is over so finishing that race I'd say was a big accomplishment. This past week she raced in Iowa but a tire blew on lap 113 and ended her day in 30th. She's now 10th in the Nationwide points.
I really am not sure how that looks given the fact that the Cup drivers can race in the Nationwide series but can't collect points. The Cup drivers have won or been in the top 10 the most. There are big point gaps between the drivers in the Naitionwide points series because of this. Ricky Stenhouse Jr is 1st with 412 points and Elliot Sadler is 2nd with 378 points. Compared to the Cup Series it's Greg Biffle in 1st with 411 points and Brad Keselowski in 2nd with 409 points. We're talking 34 points between 1st and 2nd in NNW as opposed to 2 points between 1st and 2nd in the Cup. This is how much the Cup drivers dilute the points standing in the Nationwide series.
Now our Danica report wouldn't be complete without a dust up between her and another driver. It came at Talladega. At the last lap she was fighting for position with Sam Hornish Jr and they got into each other. After the race was over and during the cool down lap she drove up behind Sam and hit his bumper pushing him into the wall. He said he had a tire going down that's why he drifted up into her during the race and she scraped the wall. She said she didn't try to put him in the wall after the race. Danica finished 13th and Sam finished 12th. Both were called to the Hauler to talk about the incident. Both say they talked on the phone afterwards and everything is ok.
So Danica has been logging laps and seems to be genuinely happy with here progress as of now. Tony Stewart has chosen the toughest tracks for her to run in the Cup series with the big dawgs and he's made no secret that he did so to help her learning process. He doesn't expect great results. If she's under any pressure it's not showing. Since she's not doing double duty between Indycar and NASCAR I expect she'll be doing much better by the end of the season. The Indycars and stock cars are way different as well as all the traveling between series won't be such a distraction any more.
Well now Gabbers and others, it's up to you to decide if she's the real deal or a poser. Weigh in below or just mull it over during your grilling duties this weekend. In any event.....
You all have an awesome and safe holiday weekend.......