It was going to be the most widely anticipated move since the day Jed Clampett rented a U-Haul.
Surely you remember Jed Clampett. He was the poorer mountaineer who barely kept his family fed. One day he was shootin` at some food and the next thing you know old Jed was a millionaire and he was loadin` up the truck and moving to Beverly.
Hills that is.
Swimmin` pools and movie stars.
Clampett moved his family and all his critters after veteran hillbilly observers told him that Californy was the place he ought to be.
A lot of people - gearheads and hillbillies alike - were telling IndyCar driver Danica Patrick that NASCAR was the place she ought to be.
She was going full speed ahead in that direction, too.
But instead of loadin` up the truck and moving to Daytona Beach, she hit the brakes. That`s right, last week she signed a three-year contract to continue driving in the IndyCar series.
The car door was left open for her to drive in some lower-level NASCAR races, but it won`t be the same.
As they say in Beverly Hills: Dangnabbit!
Now NASCAR is left without a driver who could produce big-time publicity and ratings. It is possible that even Granny Clampett would have stopped making moonshine long enough to watch Danica mix it up with the Southern Boys.
This leaves NASCAR in a quandry. There isn`t much time for the circuit to find someone else. After all, the NASCAR off-season lasts about five minutes.
As a public service, here is a list of possible candidates. Remember, the odds listed with each one are only to be used to impress the opposite sex at bar time. In addition, do not operate heavy machinery for at least two hours after digesting this information.
Jenny Slate (2-1): The Saturday Night Live rookie fired off an F-Bomb during the season debut. So she`ll fit right in with the NASCAR veterans. And she`s a natural to do the introductions: "Live from Talledaga...It`s Saturday night!!!"
Melissa Rivers (5-1): Who cares if she can drive or not? NASCAR fans will get tremendous insight from the red carpet on the fashion plates in and around Gasoline Alley. And crew chief Joan Rivers could yuk it up with Carrot Top during pit stops.
Kate Plus 8 Minus Jon (8-1): Throwing her into the equation would sure attract the math majors. Simply put, it`s about time someone in a red station wagon with a "Baby on Board" sign took the checkered flag in Darlington.
Janet Jackson (25-1): There would be nothing like a wardrobe malfunction in one of those NASCAR jump suits.
Ann Coulter (50-1): She would be a smashing success. NASCAR drivers turn left and she veers off to the right. As John Madden liked to say, "Boom!"
Sarah Palin (100-1): The polls say that she`d finish higher than Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Taylor Swift (500-1): If she ever ended up in Victory Lane, Kayne West would storm the stage and blurt out that Penelope Pitstop was the better driver.
Wilma Flintstone (1,000-1): OK, she drives a car with no brakes. Let`s just see how she handles one with no restrictor plates.
Lucy Ricardo (500,000-1): The loveable redhead and crew chief, Ethel, may have some splainin` to do if she runs out of gas down the stretch.
Oprah (1,000,000,000-1): Doesn`t everybody need to sit on the couch and have a good cry after a NASCAR race?