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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Danica Looking For Restrictor Plate Redemption

Danica Patrick's first full time season in NASCAR's Nationwide Series started out with a bang.  Literally!  Bang! Right into the wall.  She won the pole for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and, considering her short restrictor plate resume, many people were optimistic that she could finish very high.  Everything was in place for her to become the story of the year in NASCAR.


After leading some laps and trying to stay out of trouble she received an ill-timed, although well intentioned, push from her teammate, rookie driver of the 88, Cole Whitt.  Her damage from the turn 3 wall ended her day and put a cloud over her start to her full time NASCAR career.

Although there are many people who like Danica, many of them female fans and drooling males, there are droves who think she is overrated and not deserving of such a high profile opportunity in NASCAR, let alone all of the attention.  The never ending "Danica Watch" during the Daytona races by the sportscasters was enough to drive some detractors mad.  However, I have maintained that Patrick does have some strong tracks to make some statements at this year (nope, I'm not a female fan, and not drooling...currently).

Restrictor plate tracks are definitely a place I feel Danica can do surprisingly well.  In her two Daytona races last year she averaged a 12th place finish and even led 13 laps in the summer race.  Although many were concerned with how she would react to the close quarters racing with bumps and shoves a plenty, Patrick has adapted fairly well to NASCARS high speed tracks.  Considering how she has adapted at Daytona, February's race not withstanding, one should think she would do well at Talladega, where handling is even less of a factor and the trioval area is much easier to navigate.

One thing is for certain, a good finish this week at Talladega would help Patrick forget the beginning of this 2012 season and possibly in, if not close to, a top 10 spot in the Nationwide standings.  No doubt, she should be much closer to the top 5, which is where her teammate, Cole Whitt is (6th).  Points aside, I would love to see her finish better simply to hear those that can't stand her complain about her coverage!


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