4-corners

December 10, 2009

She'll be good enough
Tania Ganguli

Orlando Sentinel

Danica Patrick won't have great success on the NASCAR Nationwide circuit, but it won't make a difference to her stock car career.

After all, Jimmie Johnson was a middle-of-the-pack Busch Series racer and now he's basking in an offseason as the only driver ever to win four consecutive series titles.

Patrick will struggle through her first few races, she'll learn as she goes, and then by Year 2, she'll have a feel for the tracks and how different stock cars are. Then, once she and GoDaddy.com are ready to enter the Cup series, she'll start that learning process all over again.

She'll be good enough in the Nationwide Series to make it to the next level, especially with the strength of her sponsorship ties. And when she gets there, everything will change.

tganguli@tribune.com

Just testing the water
Keith Groller

Allentown Morning Call

Danica Patrick is not just a pretty face. Anyone who can make herself into the biggest brand in IndyCar racing while winning just one race has to have savvy, smarts and good people around her.

Patrick has studied the crossover failures of Sam Hornish Jr. and Dario Franchitti and learned you don't dive into the deepest end of the pool and expect to succeed right away. She's testing the water with her limited ARCA/Nationwide schedule.

There's a lot to learn, and she may take bumps and bruises from guys who will resent the red carpet she's been given.

But she'll give back as much as she takes, all the while expanding her brand. She'll fare well in some races and not so well in others as she sees for herself if she wants to take the full-time plunge into NASCAR.

kgroller@tribune.com

'Danicamania' assured
Jim Peltz

Los Angeles Times

Depends on your definition of "successful." Will she beat Kyle Busch in a Nationwide race? No. Will she finish in the top five in her first few starts? Unlikely.

But will Patrick be the talk of NASCAR and the Nationwide Series at the season's start? Definitely. Will that translate into more "Danicamania"? Yes. In that vein, she'll be "successful" even if she's a back-marker in races and, if she moves toward the front, her "success" only grows.

She's a strong-willed and supremely confident driver, which will help her climb what she acknowledged will be a "steep learning curve" in stock cars.

Patrick has only one win in five years on the IndyCar circuit, but she's the series' most popular driver and a sports figure recognized well beyond hard-core race fans. Enough said.

jpeltz@tribune.com

She'll give the boys a race
Jim Harding

Chicago Tribune

Danica Patrick's new teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., was Sprint Cup's most popular driver for the seventh straight year after finishing 25th in the Chase. The Nationwide Series winner was Brad Keselowski, who won't be winning a third straight in 2010.

Patrick's track record shows she is a guaranteed success in this area.

As for her track record, she was top rookie in 2005. She placed fifth on the IndyCar circuit this year, her fifth straight year of improvement. She hasn't won since 2008, but she had five top-5s and 10 top-10s this season.

She is only 27 and will have to adjust to the balky Car of Tomorrow, but she's done more than many believed when she first strutted onto the scene in '05. She will race the good old boys hard.

jharding@tribune.com

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