Is Danica Patrick ready for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? Whether or not NASCAR’s latest media darling is ready for NASCAR’s premier stage, she’s coming, and soon. Yes, she did run a partial Cup schedule in 2012 while also completing her first and, apparently, last full-time Nationwide Series season, but 2013 is going to be her first foray into full-time Sprint Cup competition. Is she ready?
Her critics are probably saying she’s not ready while her fans and supporters point to her top-10 finish in the Nationwide Series championship points standings in 2012. Also consider that Patrick holds the record for highest race finish in NASCAR national level competition.
Is she ready? Not to step on any toes, but I’m kind of leaning toward no. Yes, as I mentioned above, she does hold the record for top race finish, but that finish still wasn’t a win, and shouldn’t you be able to win at one level before moving to the next?
Then there’s her top-10 points finish. That statement, alone, looks pretty darn impressive, that is, until you look a little more than surface deep. Only 13 drivers competed in all 33 races in 2012. Add in Joe Nemechek, who ran all but one race, and that just boosts the number to 14. So basically, Patrick finished a blistering 10th out of 13 or 14 drivers.
Of course, Nationwide success, or lack thereof, doesn’t necessarily predict future Sprint Cup results. Case in point — Jimmie Johnson. Johnson just managed one victory in a mediocre, ate best, Nationwide (then-Busch) Series career prior to the jump to Cup. Anyone who would say he hasn’t found Sprint Cup success should probably have their head examined. Tony Stewart, anyone? What about Jeff Gordon? Neither of those drivers set the world on fire before a jump to Cup.
Still, it seems like she should have a lot more to prove before this upcoming jump. Maybe that’s just me. Just kind of wonder, would she have this opportunity without her popularity and GoDaddy deep pockets? Probably not. I’m guessing it probably doesn’t seem fair to the likes of Jennifer Jo Cobb and Johanna Long. I guess it’s true what they say, “Life’s not fair.”
Just my two cents.
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