While perusing the wires for news on motorsports the past couple of weeks, something became fairly obvious. There were almost no stories on Danica Patrick. Where is she?
Well, the evidential answer is she hasn't gone anywhere - she's right where you may have thought she was and that's racing in NASCAR. But wow! How times have changed.
It wasn't long ago and in fact, just a couple of months previously when story after story were pouring over every detail of how Danica was going to do entering full-time in NASCAR, including how her team essentially bought her way into the Daytona 500 - where she promptly wrecked on the first lap. But still, it was the usual Danica this, Danica that. Danica was everywhere ... Danicamania.
But then the season started in earnest and Danica's full-time ride in Nationwide has been a dull thud, except for a season-opening pole and her decent result at the sixth race (Texas) where she ended up with a first Top 10 (eighth). Yes, she's 11th overall in the Nationwide points, which isn't bad and kind of makes the point here. Where is the Danica media onslaught?
As a fan of motorsports, I pretty much follow everything that races on wheels and IndyCar is no different. I always remember how every race was about Danica is some fashion or form. If IndyCar was in the news, actually, it was Danica who was in the news for the most part. It was a double-edged sword for American open wheel racing because on one hand, she always brought the press out but it was to see her and the sport played second fiddle.
IndyCar seems to be doing okay without Danica but the jury is still out as to whether they can make it on their own without a high-profile marketing dynamo like Danica Patrick.
Yes, leading up to this week's event in Richmond, NASCAR had a story on and followed Danica around as she readied herself for a race: seeing what her routine was like, such as what she ate, what are her superstitions - you know, the usual Danica stuff that you won't find out about on any other driver.
Is that crickets I hear?
Fine. But I thought, if I haven't seen anything pop out, is it because I missed some stories on her ballyhooed season? I did some different searches and found … nothing. Well, maybe not 'nothing' as there were a couple of paragraphs written by a local news outlet in North Carolina updating NASCAR storylines including how she's fairing, along with Travis Pastrana and several other miscellaneous items. That was it.
So it wasn't me - Danica has indeed fallen off the big picture radar that is national media. To be fair, just over a week ago there was an internet piece about her wine cellar on ESPNW - did you know there was an ESPNW - but otherwise nothing about the queen of motorsports, like what her favorite color is on Tuesday.
NASCAR is a much bigger platform than IndyCar and the stock car world has many more major faces and personalities. So I'm guessing until Danica can improve her racing to the point of either winning or at least running in the Top 10, the giant black hole of Danicamania exposure that she had maintained will continue to shrink.
As long as she is the only woman driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup, she will always garner a certain amount of attention, over-and-above the norm. But the huge wave of attention that Danica had when the season began will likely slow to the point where other than being the best-looking driver, she'll just be another one of the guys … uh, er, girl.
Source - NASCAR, Racing Reference, ESPN
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.