The flirtation began well before the Indianapolis 500.
With her contract up with Andretti Green Racing after this season and questions arising again concerning the future stability of the Indy Racing League’s IndyCar Series, would Danica Patrick, arguable the most recognizable name today in open wheel racing, consider making the jump to NASCAR.
Patrick hasn’t closed the door and there’s little doubt some of NASCAR’s biggest players would line up for her services simply because of her marketing clout.
So what would the Patrick effect be on NASCAR should she end up in a Sprint Cup Series ride?
In a story on the website for Advertising Age magazine, a sports marketing executive predicts that Patrick would $50 million of new sponsorship into the sport should she make the move from open wheel to NASCAR.
Patrick has competed full-time in the IndyCar Series since 2005 with one win in 73 starts. That historic victory came in the third race of the 2008 season at Motegi, Japan. She finished a career best third at the recent Indianapolis 500. She was fourth as a rookie at Indianapolis in 2005 and has top-10 finishes at the event in four of her five starts there. She is currently fifth in the IndyCar Series standings with top-6 finishes in five of the first six events this season.
“Danica would undoubtedly be a big story for Nascar,” Torrey Galida, president – motor sports for the Charlotte, N.C.-based sports marketing firm Millsport told Advertising Age. “I wouldn’t necessarily classify her as a ‘savior,’ but she would certainly generate a huge amount of interest. She is a star. Danica’s star power would be great for the sport. Over the last few years, in the interest of not offending sponsors, many of the Nascar drivers have begun to act and sound alike. Danica has a unique story people are going to be interested in, and she’s a good interview.”