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Published:September 11th, 2009 11:00 EST
Danica Patrick in NASCAR? Why not?

Danica Patrick in NASCAR? Why not?

By Mike Hart

There are many legends in the rear-view mirror of the NASCAR circuit.

         A splendid splinter who always wore trademark shades and one of those Charlie One hats was "The King." Richard Petty ruled over NASCAR seven times.

        The late, great Dale Earnhardt was the only other man to wear the NASCAR crown seven times. His controversial, aggressive driving style earned him the nickname, "The Intimidator."

         The King.


         And the Intimidator.


         They ruled the roosts at Daytona Beach, Charlotte and Talladega. Those ovals were their personal playgrounds. Many drivers ate their dust.


         Hit the fast forward button. A bright, young woman is poised to go full speed ahead toward her dream of competing on the same tracks that The King and The Intimidator ran wild on.




         That`s right. IndyCar star Danica Patrick is ready to shift gears and head off to NASCAR. It appears that she`ll be doing so sooner rather than later.


         Some may think that the petite Patrick does not belong in these intimidating gasoline alleys.

         Guess again.


         This is the same Danica Patrick who took third in the legendary Indianapolis 500 - the highest finish ever by a woman.


         This is the same Danica Patrick who was ready to wring Dan Wheldon`s neck after a wreck in Milwaukee.


         This is the same Danica Patrick who had to be held back by Indy security after she made a bee-line toward Ryan Briscoe following a pit-row collision.


         It appears that this intimidation thing might not be a factor.


         Then you`ve got the nattering naybobs of negativity who will say that she`s more of a model, more of a sex symbol than a driver.


         Well, sex sells in NASCAR. It wasn`t too long ago that Mark Martin was driving the Viagra car. Viva Viagra!


         So much for that argument.


         They`ll also spout off about how she`s never won anything. This, too, is a wrong turn down Memory Lane.


          The record will show that Danica Patrick took the checkered flag in the Indy Japan 300 in 2008. Now the problem with winning the Indy Japan 300 is that she took her victory lap well after bar time in the U.S. This means that everyone was either passed out or they were watching "Roadhouse" on HBO for the zillionth time.


          Let`s face it, NASCAR needs a jump start right now. Watching paint dry is a whole lot more entertaining than listening to some of these guys after a race.


          Tony Stewart seems to be the lone ranger out there. At least he has a personality. But he can`t be Spiderman after victories forever thanks to his growing girth. As Toby Keith would probably say upon watching Stewart try to scale up a fence, "He ain`t as good as he once was."


           Danica will mean ratings for NASCAR. Do you want to plop down on the couch on Saturday nights and watch reruns of "The Love Boat" or do you want to watch Danica blow a gasket after someone cuts her off?


            Next case, counselor.


            And, like Pele, Serena, Venus, Kobe and BrettFavre, Danica is one of those sports stars that can go by one name. Busch, Kenseth and Gordon certainly can`t pull that off.


            Will Danica and NASCAR be a match made in heaven?


            Give her the keys to a car and let`s find out.