Danica Patrick’s Return Just What Series Needed

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)

There is one number that pops into my head when I think of the Nationwide Series so far this season. That number is one.

Through fifteen races of the 35 race schedule that will make up the NASCAR Nationwide Series, there has been just one Nationwide Series regular that has won a race.

Outside of Justin Allgaier making his first trip to victory lane in March at Bristol Motor Speedway every single winner of the rest of the races thus far have been won by Sprint Cup Series drivers.

Kind of boring huh?

Well how about the fact that Brad Keselowski, a Sprint Cup driver and the Nationwide Series point leader, has a 237 point lead already, and has failed to finish outside the top-10 just once this season? Kind of predictable huh?

Enter Danica Patrick to spice this dull season up…

It’s weird to say that a driver who hasn’t finished better than 31st in their Nationwide career can provide an impact, but she in fact can.

What do I mean by this? Well Patrick is the complete opposite of predictable, as she has shown in the past with her emotional outbursts. However more importantly she is a polarizing figure that will shift the attention from the atrocious show we have been treated to on the track in the Nationwide Series this season.

NASCAR has gotten back to it’s roots in the Sprint Cup Series this season, but it has failed to do the same in the Nationwide Series… However one can argue that Patrick instantly helps the series do just that.

After all the whole idea behind the NASCAR Nationwide Series was to give fans a look at young up-and-coming talent as they worked their way to the Sprint Cup Series. Expect the cameras on her for the majority of the day, so fans can do just that.

She comes into this weekend on a hot streak in the Indy Car Series, but she comes into this race with realistic expectations and a ready to learn attitude.

“I’m eager to learn the Nationwide car. And I think that – I think that the best thing I can do for myself on the NASCAR weekends is really come up with some realistic expectation levels instead of having them be like IndyCar expectation levels where I’m hoping to win and I’m hoping to finish on the podium, those kinds of things” Patrick said in a NASCAR teleconference.

If you’re wondering what are “realistic expectations”, Danica broke that down in better detail.

“I think it’s probably better for me to say like, you know, I hope this weekend I finish in the top 20 or the top 15. And kind of build myself up.” Patrick said.

No matter where she starts or where she finishes, she will be something interesting to follow… and really that’s exactly what the Nationwide Series needs.

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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