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Danica's Future: Will There Be A Sponsor? A Ride?

Danica Patrick's re-designed 2015 GoDaddy.com Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Danica Patrick's re-designed 2015 GoDaddy.com Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Danica, Danica, DANICA.  The lady that was exactly what we expected her to be.

When the 2010 NASCAR season started fans didn't know what to expect.  Danica Patrick the 1-time Indy Car race winner was going to try something new.  While continuing to run full-time in the Indy Car Series, Patrick stepped foot into a NASCAR Xfinity (Nationwide at the time) car to run a part-time schedule.  Fans didn't know what to expect.  Women have never held a major role in NASCAR in terms of being behind the wheel.  Many strong women have help build the sport behind the scenes such as Betty Jane France, but a woman had yet to win a race or compete on a consistent basis as a driver.  Five short years later the same can be said.  I am not saying Danica Patrick is not a great driver, but has not shown the results to convince me she should be considered an 'elite' driver.

Before I go any further I will point out that I am not going to give Danica the benefit of the doubt.  And I will admit I have been skeptical since the beginning.  That may bring some bias, but honestly I think my predictions have came true.  NASCAR fans have never been convinced Danica needed to be here.  She has had some bright moments such as winning the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, and breaking Janet Guthrie's record for most top-10 finishes by a female racer.  Patrick has shown a nack for restrictor plate tracks and has emerged as an average short track racer.  In fact both of her top-10 finishes thus far in the 2015 season have come at Martinsville and Bristol.  These highlights are resume worthy, but in the overall scheme of things, Danica just doesn't cut it.  

Danica Patrick wins the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500.

Whether she deserved the ride at Stewart-Haas Racing is a different topic for a different day.  I am here to discuss her future since sponsor GoDaddy.com made the announcement that they will pull out as Danica's sponsor after the 2015 season.  GoDaddy has been one major reason Patrick was able to make the switch from open wheel to stock cars.  Having a  major sponsor on her side willing to sign a multi-year deal makes things easy.  Now, the issue arises that with GoDaddy gone will someone fill their shoes.  Also, this season is a contract year for Patrick, which could lead to her searching for a new ride if Stewart-Haas chooses not to re-sign her.  

Danica Patrick (right) with owner Tony Stewart (left).

Here is how I see things unfolding.  First, lets talk about her finding a sponsor, due to how this could very well impact her being resigned.  Danica WILL find a replacement sponsor.  Danica helped put GoDaddy on the map, and other companies see this opportunity.  Whether fans like it or not, Danica has built a major fan base and sells a huge amount of merchandise, which means more money in everyone's pockets.  Whoever locks her up will be a very lucky company.  Second, will Stewart-Haas Racing resign the driver that has only 6 top-10's in 91 starts?  YES.  Tony Stewart has shown frustration with Danica on track but has always defended her.  She brings in too much money to let her go, and Tony Stewart knows business.  Just think about Dale Jr. when he went through is 5 year slump.  Though he didn't run well fans stayed by his side.  Danica does not perform at the highest level but still maintains a popular status among fans, and is still an inspiration to many women.  Bottom line is Danica will be in NASCAR at least for a few more years.  She wants to be successful here and gain respect as an elite driver in the Cup series.  Look for her to be back in her all new looking #10 Chevy.

(Stats from racereference.com)  (Images:  wallwidehd.com, usatoday.com, beermugsports.com) 

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