Monday, September 7, 2009

ESPN's Ed Hinton: Danica Patrick in Nationwide And Truck Series In 2010


Leave it to good old Ed Hinton to cut through the clutter and innuendo that was floating around the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. The topic was Danica Patrick's NASCAR plans and Hinton just spelled it out for NASCAR Now viewers on Sunday morning.

"A source who is golden tells me that her NASCAR schedule will be a learning schedule next year," said Hinton to host Nicole Manske. "It will be built to accommodate her full IndyCar schedule."

"She is going to do a significant number of Nationwide Series races, she is going to do some truck series races, she is in this to learn," continued Hinton. "Tony Stewart is almost certainly going to sign-on as her partner and mentor in this venture."

On the subject of who would provide cars and trucks for her next season. "I am hearing more and more that Kevin Harvick fits the bill because KHI fields both trucks and Nationwide cars," said Hinton. "She will do it very much like Tony did it in 1998. He ran the full IRL schedule and 22 then Busch Series races."

On the subject of funding for Patrick's NASCAR efforts, Hinton continued to make himself very clear. "Sponsorship is not going to be an issue for the top female driver in the world," said Hinton. "Chevrolet appears to be the leader in the club house (with both SHR and KHI in Chevys). Whatever manufacturer signs Danica, that is going to be a huge branding boost for them."

Like a good veteran journalist, Hinton closed with a recap of this high-profile story. "I have been told it is all but certain that she will be in NASCAR next year," he said.

Update: Click here for a direct link to the ESPN.com version of Hinton's story.

Hinton has not had a high-profile place on ESPN's TV coverage of the sport, but he is slowly coming around to television and how it works. His weekly debates with Marty Smith on NASCAR Now are entertaining, but in the mid-week shows and during the one hour Sprint Cup pre-race programs, more of Hinton would be a good idea.

It will take a little while for the Danica news to sink in, but there is going to be a very big change taking place in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Track promoters and TV networks are already looking to 2010 as the time they can promote that Danica will be racing at their track and on their network.

TDP will be following this story completely as it will have such a huge impact on the TV and media coverage of the sport. Just consider Patrick entered in both the Daytona CWTS and Nationwide Series races driving for DeLana Harvick and KHI.

We always ask for your comments on these issues, but perhaps you could try to think about how the media will be impacted. Danica on Sirius Speedway, Danica on NASCAR Now, Danica and Ray Dunlap doing pit road interviews on SPEED's truck coverage.

Tony Stewart's transition from dealing with the IRL media and then coming to NASCAR was aided by the fact he was a veteran sprint car driver. Patrick is cool to the media and is about to get quite a wake-up call when everyone from Wendy Venturini to Marty Smith is ringing her phone and wanting some TV time.

To add your opinion on this topic, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, we will be live blogging the Sprint Cup Series race tonight so please also join us then.

49 comments:

bevo said...

You know how ESPN could handle this kind of news? Bring back RPM2Nite... and speaking of which John Kernan is back on the NHRA coverage for the remainder of their season like he did last year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think it should be interesting to see what RaceDay has to say about this story at 5PM.

I think Ms. Venturini has some Tony Stewart connections.

JD

Anonymous said...

This could be the best thing to happen to the Truck series. Despite having some of the best racing in the world, the stands are just simply empty. If she can put butts in seats, I am all for it. I think she'll be a marketing force that will make Dale Jr pale in comparison. I'm not sure she will ever cut it in a hot stock car at the top level, but her trying is nothing but good for NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

I've said this before on this blog, and I will say it again: My wife hates NASCAR and I cannot get her to watch on TV or attend a race. BUT she has said repeatedly that if Danica races, she'll both watch and go see her in person.

I don't agree with my wife on this, in fact I think my wife is a bit closed minded on this, but I also suspect there are a lot of women just like her out there, and this will be huge for NASCAR.

Old School/New Skool: Ed Hinton gets the scoop, Marty Smith hangs out with Kasey Kahne at a bar. Way to go Ed!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Boris Said had a great point on NASCAR Now. Manske asked him what Danica has to lose and he said absolutely nothing.

Said noted that Dario Franchitti is back in the IRL and winning after a disaster in NASCAR.

JD

boyd said...

This could be a replay of the late 70's early 80's with Paul Newman. To recap, Newman was racing Sports Cars, and everyone wanted an interview with him. He didn't care to be interviewed, so there were numerous talking heads doing stories standing outside his trailer, standing on pit road, or anywhere he may wander by. None however got to stick a mic. In his face.
Danica does have PR folks and some media savvy so the airwaves will have plenty of stuff on her.
The problem will be trying to 'grab a second' with her. As a former photographer for a racing mag, I will let you know that she does go from her racer to her trailer faster than any other person. She hates being a public person. Mind you I wasn't trying to be a bother, I had a job to do also.
I think that wall to wall coverage will be obvious, so get ready for the 'Buschwackers' and lots of Danica on your TV. Oh those other guys...they're just out there to get in her way.

Walter said...

Interesting that DP has made a couple trips to SHR ...curious to know how that contact was initiated ...also seems apropo that a 'print guy' broke the story ahead of the new media ...hmmm, having lost Versus from DirecTV, guess I'll have to get used to IRL online to see this future NASCAR 'star?'

bevo said...

So what gets more air time today - Danica or Carl's foot?

BTW NHRA has a substance abuse suspension of their own today, Pro Stock Motorcyclist Matt Guidera.

Daly Planet Editor said...

boyd,

Wait till she gets crashed out on the last lap at a small track in the heat of summer and Shannon Spake sticks a mic in her face and says "how do you feel about that?"

JD

bevo said...

@Walter- Stewart has been a big supporter of Danica for a long time. She was on his Sirius show the past couple of years. He was giving her advice and pointers before she started her IRL career.

Mary said...

I am so sick of this woman already....

Lou said...
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Dot said...

@ Mary, ditto.

And, it's only going to get worse.

Lou said...

Although I do not watch races on espn(espn take note) for the rest of the season. and listen on the RADIO when i can. I do think that Danica Patrick will bring more viewers to the sport.

September 6, 2009 12:33 PM

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

Mary and Dot- I third that.

I already have a hard time dealing with hearing 'bout something else ad nauseum (the Chase). DP will make it two in this sport.

Daly Planet Editor said...

You guys better get prepared. For the thin truck series and the new COT N'wide Series, this is the best news in many years.

Where the media and TV is concerned, this may be the top story of the off-season if the no testing rules continue.

Should be interesting to see what kind of Go Daddy ads she brings to the series.

JD

Andrew said...

You know, I'm not a huge fan of Danica; so far, she's been all flash and no substance. But she is a media darling and gets people watching, which is exactly what NASCAR needs right now, especially the Truck and NW Series. And Smoke is probably the best person to help her adjust from open wheel to NASCAR.

Damon said...

DPE,


On Boris Said's point: Unlike Danica, Dario could fly under the radar and nobody really cares about what he does, but Danica already has a lot of Indycar fans mad at her for even wanting to try this.

The OW fan's mentality is: Race for us and only us.

The second you start making waves about racing elsewhere, they pull the "she was never any good anyway, forget her" routine.

red said...

well, so here we finally are with danica patrick and nascar. no great surprise, actually. i hope she does sign w/KHR as i believe that is a strong -- and growing -- organization that is a model for doing it right. (plus, with the sponsor $$$ she'd generate, maybe they coud hire jade back!) wonder how this will impact carmichael's ride with KHR?

as for the media impact: either she will learn how to "do" nascar media or she will suffer the wrath of the fans. it's not much of a choice and i certainly hope smoke is already helping her understand the VAST difference between the irl and nascar when it comes to driver access. being first to her coach after a race is NOT the way to handle the nascar media and the camaraderie around the track, in the garages and in the coach lot is MUCH different than in irl! in fact, that very feature is something all former irl-ers have commented upon.

i wonder if the branding effort will be modified? her current commercials tie her into the "sexy irl" mode but that's clearly inappropriate for nascar. her handlers would be wise to develop a campaign that emphasizes her racing ability and her personality, as that it what connects in nascar.

as a dale eanhardt fan, i'm thrilled there will be a new someone in nascar who can take the media burden off him for a while!

West Coast Diane said...

It will be interesting. 36 races instead of 17. Someone this past year (I'm thinking it was Danica, but I might be wrong on that) said "...every race in NASCAR is the INDY 500". This was obviously meant in all the fanfare before the races, media demands, etc.

I have mixed emotions about Danica. I root for her in IRL. For the naysayers, she is 5th or
6th in points.

While I don't mind her using her looks to promote herself, I do not like the sleazy approach...i.e. Go Daddy. I would prefer the subtle. Hard to look at her as I role model for young girls wanting to get into racing.

One thing for sure. It will be a zoo. If we are tired of it now hang onto your hats!

David said...
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David said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...
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West Coast Diane said...

@ Damon...hello...we are major open wheel fans...attending Indy 500 for 15 yrs (2500 miles one) way) and the F1 at Indy for all the races.

I think it is great for NASCAR. My only concern as in previous post is how it is done with her sponsors. Will it be family friendly?

bevo said...

@JD- How about when Jamie does it instead of Shannon? Danica and her were only a year apart at the same high school. Jamie had a good rapport with her back in the IRL coverage but I don't know how they'll mix with the recent version of Jamie.

Damon said...

Hey Diane,

Fear not about DP and being family friendly.

Her autograph lines are longer than anybody else in Indycar and a big part of that are parents who bring their kids.

http://twitpic.com/emfpw

Damon said...

Danica went to high school with Nicole Manske, not Jamie Little, but she does know Jamie from the IRL coverage though.

bevo said...

@Damon- you're right, had a brain fart :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

I enjoy Danica on Twitter, she makes fun of herself a lot and seems to be working hard at keeping a normal life.

17 IRL weekends plus 20 NASCAR races may do a lot to change that.

glenc1 said...

as they said on NN, this is huge for NASCAR. Yes, we will be inundated with Danipalooza, but it's a price I'm willing to pay if it helps keep those series alive, particularly trucks. I agreed with Boris, if she bombs (or finds she hates it) she can just go back...the IRL crowd will forgive and forget. She might get boos with the cheers, but we know what Big E used to say about that. I hope they've advised her to start working out, if she doesn't already, though, wrestling a 3400 pound stock car is something else....

As far as the media goes, with Tony and Kevin to advise her...well, heck, they've both been down the temper tantrum trail, so I expect they'd be a help to her. I don't always like everything she says/does, but she's interesting. She will have to get used to the attention, and I'm sure Tony warned her about that, he didn't like it much either.

I think it's kinda silly to call her a pretender. She's improved over the years, and is fifth in points against some good teams. No, I don't think she's Michael Schumacher, but she's holding her own as well as a lot of men with her level of experience.

Along these lines, I think it would be great if Ricky Carmichael keeps coming along on the similar track....he's very entertaining on TV.

glenc1 said...

btw...anyone remember how we all hated it when everything was 'Jeff Gordon this' and 'Jeff Gordon that'...at times it seemed like no one else was on the track. I know we'll gripe about it, but like I said, it's good for the sport.

West Coast Diane said...

Damon...I've seen those lines. Just hope parents are telling their daughters they can succeed without using their bodies in a sleazy fashion. Especially those young ladies who may not have the physical attributes. I would hope they would know that no matter what career they choose they should be able acheive the highest level of success without using their bodies.

Daly Planet Editor said...

With the news that Kyle Busch will be curtailing his truck and N'wide activity for next season, this is an early Xmas gift for the sport if it turns out to be true.

Sally said...

I say she's more than welcome to come try stock car racing. If it helps promote interest in the trucks and Busch series, so much the better. Maybe Junior won't be under such a microscope and everyone can complain about how TV covers Danica to the exclusion of everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Danica is Sarah Palin---in good enough equipment to just go out & ride around with zero expectations but all the praise/perks---with "big brother" Tony to keep all the real racers away from her when the heat gets too much...sad day in Nascar when a fraud like her gets the $$$$ to come play.....

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...
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Andrew said...

Only sorta related - did we ever hear what the dustup was that Ed Hinton was involved in yesterday?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Supposedly he got into it with a photog in the media center, but nothing more was said.

Anonymous said...

Danica Patrick is a RACER! Period!

She is 5th in points in the Indy Racing League with 2 races to go in 2009.

Who are the drivers ahead of her?

Only the 4 drivers from IndyCar powerhouse teams of Roger Penske (Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves) and Chip Ganassi (Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon).

She has left the rest of the IndyCar drivers in her dust - including all of her AGR teammates!

Go DANICA! Take 5th in the Indy Racing League this year and be PROUD. Come spend some quality time in NASCAR with us next year!

BTW - Bring GoDaddy! Don't let some crying fans think a GoDaddy commercial is going to offend a real racing business lady like Delana Harvick!

Richard in N.C. said...

I find TV always improved by the absence of the consistently biased Ed Hinton.

Anonymous said...

This is good for NASCAR. As many have said before, it will draw DP fans to NASCAR who previously would have rather had their eyeballs hot waxed than watch any car race that had a roof. Does NASCAR need DP? No. Will it help them? No doubt.

I think it was Alain Prost who commented on Nigel Mansell's move from F1 to US open wheel (CART) that it was, "A good place to wind down a flagging career." Classic Prost and Mansell was one I really liked. Unfortunately, IndyCar has some pretty talented drivers... a fair number actually, but it's the series that's coughing up blood now. It's grave inadvertently being dug by management whilst they tried to dig one for CART. Time for a crash cart but I don't know what should be on it. Losing Danica isn't going to help. She might not break away completely until 2011 or later but when she does it will cut into the Indy fan base. Couple that with the fact that most of the drivers are not North Americans. It is a statistical fact that Americans, all things being equal like American drivers better than foreign ones, at least in the beginning. JPM is a classic example in NASCAR and it was something that CART was wrestling with even before they changed to Champ Car. I was always partial to the Brazilians, and still am. NASCAR's gaining of DP may be a crippling blow to IndyCar.

Personally, I think race control will be spending way too much time calling for the "wahhhmbulance" as Danica stomps down the back stretch at Bristol, Phoenix, or anywhere, actually. My ex, tepid at best about racing, had no patience for that kind of behavior. Role model? Yeah, right.

Good for the sport. Good for the fan base. Absolutely. And there's a marketing exec somewhere that's absolutely over the moon. I'll continue to fast forward past the Go Daddy ads in the races.

OT: Met Ken Squire at Thunder Road today and chatted about a project he'll be doing an interview for in the fall. I'm doing the Snoopy Dance. Good thing you can't see me. It's pretty pathetic!

Sophia said...

According to Robin Miller on Wind Tunnel EXTRA tonight (30 minute online show after tv show) he said Hinton is wrong and Tony S is just playing with the media.

He said he would see Tony at Eldora and see why he's messing with the media.

Anonymous said...

JP Montoya said a while back that it has taken him three years to become competitive in this kind of racing and implied that Danica does not have that kind of patience.

Given that and the fact that she is not media-friendly, she's not going to be real popular in a sport that is built on access.

I predict she'll try it and then give up and go back to open wheel..or be forced to, when she can't get a ride.

allisong said...

As I posted in the "Your Turn" column, I get insulted by any media types who assume that all female race fans are going to swoon over watching Danica race in NASCAR. This female fan couldn't care less. Also, not to be too snarky, but she's 5th in points out of how many teams? 15? 16? That's like a 15th place team in NASCAR.

Richard in N.C. said...

No one deserves to play with the media like Smoke.

Since the family has taken the checkbook away from Tony George, it would only make sense for Danica to explore her NASCAR options while she does have both IRL and NASCAR options.

NorCalFan said...

I agree with Boyd's earlier comment. I've witnessed Danica several times at the track weave her way through crowds riding a team motor scooter at break neck speed which is not conducive to signing autographs, taking photographs with fans or talking to the media. On one occasion my husband almost became a handlebar ornament on her scooter had he not quickly jumped out of her way.

If she can't bring her scooter to NASCAR, she'll be faced with a whole lot of people in the garage who want a few seconds of her time while walking from point A to point B. I predict she'll have a posse of people hired to surround and protect her whenever she's out of the race car.

No doubt she'll cause a stir in NASCAR but I wonder if she'll have the patience to persevere 3 years of learning like JPM and Hornish. Since Tony Stewart completed NASCAR mandated anger management classes several years ago, he could give her advice on controlling her temper when a driver like Kyle B. spins her out of his way. Danica Panica is the moniker we've called her since her famous temper tantrum was broadcast.

Fun times ahead.

darbar said...

I cannot believe the Hinton story said Danica has a thick skin. What? This is a woman who's gone off throwing her helmet, flinging her race gloves and stomping off like a 2 year old having a temper tantrum---and it's not like these things have happened only once. Then, she's gone after at least 3 of her fellow IRL drivers, with the biggest being shoving Dan Wheldon and Milka Duno. This is NOT a person with a thick skin---if it were, she wouldn't behave the way she does. Thick skinned people let things roll off their backs, she doesn't.

This is a woman who drives a 1600lb car, with 19 other drivers, in 17 races a season. Compare those numbers to Nascar. Then, take a look at the watered down "talent" in the IRL. Maybe four who are truly talented drivers--the rest are ones who've not made it in F1 or have been given rides because of their last name (Rahal, Andretti). The IRL has a dearth of talent and is nothing like it was a few years ago. If Danica is the fifth or sixth best IRL driver, that would probably put her as the 30th best in Nascar.

Her talking about being a "brand" rather than a race car driver is interesting to me, especially after watching the CNBC Special last night about the porn industry. Those "ladies" of porn, including one called Jesse Jane, refer to themselves as brands. No matter how popular the current Nascar drivers are, and no matter how many commercials they make, they've never referred to themselves as a "brand". To me, she's nothing more than a commercial product, selling her gender, sex appeal and body to the highest bidders. I just wonder if the broohaha would be as intense if Danica were plain looking and didn't put sex out there as her calling card. Sorry, but this is one woman Nascar fan who isn't all excited about Danica coming to Nascar. The only thing I would pay to see is her get into a tangle with Kyle Busch, punting him from first to 33rd place with 5 laps to go---despite the fact that her car was 6 laps down. Now that's a fight that would be worth the price of admission.

PammH said...

Sorry to be so late w/this, but I have to say-most of the females I know think she is a w#$%&. So her being a Nascar driver is so NOT gonna appeal to female fans in the least. Personally, I think she has some talent, but not enough to bridge the gap...jmo.