Patrick open to NASCAR future
|By Matt Beer||Thursday, June 18th 2009, 09:48 GMT|
Danica Patrick has admitted that NASCAR could be an attractive opportunity for her next season when her current IndyCar contract with Andretti Green comes to an end.
The American has been linked to a Ganassi seat if she decides to leave AGR but stay in open wheel racing, but her high profile also makes her a target for NASCAR teams.
She said the challenge of switching championships and the massive public interest in NASCAR made the Sprint Cup Series a tempting option.
"As drivers we like to challenge ourselves," said Patrick. "If we've done something well, can we do the next thing well? It's the opportunity to show your ability.
"NASCAR has so many viewers and so many partners. There are just lots of options both inside and outside the car. And it looks like fun. There are 40-odd guys that do it every year. Obviously, it's a good time. Oval racing is always fun. It's you racing against everyone else, it's very competitive.
"It's kind of like the Indy 500 every weekend. That's a lot of fun as a driver to be part of something important, and something people want to watch."
She said her main consideration was to be a frontrunner in whichever series she chose.
"I think the most important thing for me is to put myself in a situation where I can win as many races as possible and run up front and be in that competitive situation," Patrick said.
"Because at the end of the day, usually the best press comes when I'm doing things on track. That's really the most important thing for me as a driver. So that's where the ultimate focus is going to go.
"Then aside from that and after that there has to be thoughts to the brand side of the situation, and being able to make the most of myself as an athlete and as an endorser of products and gaining exposure so that in due time I'm able to explore other things outside of racing. So, all of that comes afterwards. The most important thing is kicking butt out there."
Patrick acknowledged that other drivers switching from IndyCar to NASCAR recently had struggled to make an impact, but thinks she would succeed with the right team.
"I think it's something to take notice of," she admitted. "I think what it shows is it is difficult. You do need as much help as possible. But as credit to them, they haven't been driving for the best teams in NASCAR either. So how can you really hold them accountable for not doing extremely well in the very beginning when they just don't have the resources?
"Now they're getting the hang of it. And Sam [Hornish Jr] is doing much better, and Juan [Pablo Montoya] is doing better. But, they don't drive for Hendrick or Roush or any of the top teams.
"For me the most important thing is performing and having the ability and having the resources to get there faster. When it's a top team calling, it makes it more attractive."
She hinted that she might not make any decisions until after the IndyCar season was over.
"I want to do well in the series, I want to finish as high as possible, I want to win as many races as I can, so I don't want to do anything that would take away from that being able to happen," said Patrick.
The 27-year-old insisted that at present she was only in the earliest stages of talks about 2010.
"We've definitely had many conversations about what I'm looking for and my goals, but really, it's kind of about collecting information at this point and seeing what our options are, and then we'll talk deeper after that," Patrick said.