By Lee Montgomery firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who is surprised by the struggles of JR Motorsports driver Danica Patrick during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway is either:
- Doesn't understand NASCAR, or
- Seriously overrates her talent
Go ahead and make fun of her now if you want, for Saturday's performance was laughable. She had two pit-road speeding penalties and was lapped twice before the halfway point.
But who is surprised? This is the third time she's ever sat behind the wheel for a stock car race. No one would be able to do much better at this point in their career.
Will Patrick ever be a good stock car driver? I don't know that any more than you do. Ask that question in three years. That's about how long it should take an open-wheel driver to make transition to stock cars.
Yes, I know: Therein lies the problem. She's not doing the full Nationwide schedule this year or the next, so how will we ever know if she's any good in a stock car? The answer is, we won't.
So what's the point of the whole Danica exercise? I guess it's to find out if she likes NASCAR or not.
That's kind of a shame. But if someone else is paying the bills, who can blame her? It's a good gig if you can get it.
I don't know. Seems to me there are a lot better stories in the Nationwide Series than Patrick. She's getting the attention because she's popular. Someone cares about her and her move to NASCAR, or else the folks in the media (myself included) wouldn't be talking about her.
But until she gets some more races under her belt - and a lot more races at that - we'll all be talking about her struggles instead of her successes.