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Patrick Confuses NASCAR With Facebook
It was almost comical to hear Danica Patrick’s comments about how some of the other drivers perceive her.
“I don't know, it seems like people don't frickin' like me, man," radioed Patrick to her crew after losing her drafting partner late in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway event.
She’s probably right.
They don’t like her.
After her performance and the way she acted this past weekend, why would they?
If you watched Patrick all weekend, it was obvious she was struggling. From the first laps in practice, it was evident Patrick had trouble mastering the ‘tandem’ style racing where two cars literally push each other around the track. In-car television camera shots showed her hands all over the place, yanking back and forth on the wheel in an effort to keep control of her car. Similar shots of veterans like Kyle Busch or Elliott Sadler revealed hardly any hand movement and a much greater degree of car control.
Additionally, Patrick time and again either broke the tandem draft by racing away from or peeling off from pushing her partner. From the first practice to the final lap Saturday, it was clear in the garage area that if you were looking for a partner to race and win with, Patrick wasn’t it.
Heck, even her JR Motorsports teammates – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Cole Whitt - seemed resistant to work with Patrick in practice or during the race.
Honestly, this isn’t a knock on Patrick. There are a lot of drivers in the garage area that don’t get the whole Daytona-Talladega tandem racing deal. It has to be pretty unnerving to be hurtling along at 200 miles per hour either pushing or getting pushed around the track.
We get that. What we take issue with is those other drivers aren’t throwing hissy fits claiming nobody likes them like Patrick does. They just keep their mouths shut and try to get better.
Bottom line – Patrick couldn’t keep up most of the time this past weekend at Talladega. That’s why nobody wanted to race with her. It had nothing to do with ‘liking’ her. This is professional stock car racing, not Facebook for cripes sake.
We’re not exactly sure what Patrick expected in making the switch to NASCAR. Truthfully, her star power has always been off the track – not on it. Patrick’s Indy Car record reveals she won one time in 115 career starts. Even more telling is the fact she finished on the lead lap in just 68 of those 115 events.
That’s not exactly a stellar record, so again we have to question what the expectations were when Patrick decided to completely switch racing disciplines and take on the best drivers who have already ‘mastered’ NASCAR racing.
It’s an even bigger expectation to think drivers would want to work with you when you have yet to attain the competitive proficiency to do so. Wrecking them after the race – and then constantly sniffing about how nobody likes you to the media – isn’t going to get it done either.
At the end of the day, respect and friendships in the NASCAR garage area are earned. To date, Patrick’s performances like those on display this weekend at Talladega haven’t warranted either.
Patrick may one day be a top NASCAR star winning races and posting top finishes on a regular basis. Until then, however, a little hard work and a huge dose of humility may better serve if her goal is to be ‘liked’ in the NASCAR garage area.