It has been nearly a week since we’ve mentioned Danica Patrick on this site. Since tasers hurt like hell, here’s the latest on what could happen and what that might mean for the sport:
Thumbs up: Michael Waltrip Racing
For a guy who rarely wins on the track, Michael Waltrip owns like a champ. Replacing himself with Martin Truex Jr. is an upgrade. Now MWR bigwig Ty Norris has confirmed to reporters that the team has spoken with Patrick about running in the Nationwide Series next year. Said Norris:
"In recent weeks, I would say the discussions have become a little bit more detailed and intense to where you're talking about ifs, ands and buts."
So long as they’re talking about grammatical buts. (Sorry, too easy.)
Thumbs in the middle: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart
Earnhardt certainly doesn’t have to worry about winning races this year, so he might was well focus on bringing Patrick into the fold. Calling her a “friend,” Earnhardt said his sister is leading negotiations about starting Patrick’s transition to NASCAR.
"She has a lot of those intangible values in a race car driver that are really important, things you don't learn," Earnhardt said. "You learn how to drive cars and go around race tracks, but there a lot of things inside when it comes to initiative and willpower. It's just passion. You either have it or you don't."
As for Whopper Man, Stewart has showed Patrick the SHR facilities, but would have to start a Nationwide Series team from scratch. With GoDaddy.com as a sponsor and Stewart as a mentor, such a possibility has as much weight as Whopper Man himself.
Thumbs down: Joe Gibbs and Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway officials have said Patrick’s salary requirements were too high. Seeing how Roush is bailing on the Truck series in 2010 and possibly dumping Erik Darnell because of sponsorship issues, cutting Patrick a big check just doesn’t seem to be in play for the man with the fancy hat.
JGR President J.D. Gibbs has a connection with Patrick’s agent, but suggested even Ari Gold couldn’t even get a deal together.
“At this point, it would be kind of hard (for us) to do next year and do it right. That’s my biggest thing, make sure you do it right. We’ve got two great teams but probably not enough room. You would have to add another team.”
Thumbs in a direction we can’t decipher: The IRL
As much as people have yapped about where Patrick will race, the IRL has been stunningly silent. There are legitimate legal issues should Patrick compromise her IRL gig through any accident or error that takes place in a stock car. Just as David Beckham had to deal with this and that to bail on American soccer and play football in Europe, one would think Patrick could face a similar this and that.
Nobody knows what’s going to happen; so, enjoy the picture gallery already.
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