Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NASCAR Fan Council Chasing Shadows


This week's double-secret NASCAR Fan Council (NFC) survey asked the chosen participants about a part-time Nationwide Series driver. Normally, this would be highly unusual.

The NFC topics offered are usually the ones that are pretty high-profile for the sport in general. Opinions on the top drivers, events on the track and even reviews of the network TV announcers have been on the menu in the past.

Apparently, even the NASCAR Fan Council is trying to get a handle on how one driver's arrival next season will affect the sport, the fans and the TV coverage.

Once again, it's Danica time. Here are some NFC topics:

Is she good for NASCAR? Are you tired of hearing about her in the media? Will you watch more races if she is in them? Is she a good driver? Will she be competitive? Are female drivers good for the sport?

These are just a handful of the questions asked by the market research company chosen by NASCAR to operate and maintain the NFC. It's pretty interesting that these questions come before Patrick has done anything but turn a casual wheel in a part-time Nationwide Series ride.

Don't get turned off by this topic, it's not about Danica. What we are watching is a major professional sport with a multi-billion dollar TV contract try to prepare for something it has never experienced.

What the NFC is trying to determine is if NASCAR has hit the jackpot. Is Patrick a ticket-selling machine who will also sky the TV ratings as a full time driver? Is she a face and personality that can get NASCAR across media bridges it has never been able to cross? Is this NASCAR's dream come true?

At speedweeks in Daytona, a fully funded and highly prepared Nationwide Series team is going to show up ready to run for a championship. The team's sponsor will buy TV time, promote the racing product and give the series a much needed shot in the arm.

The driver is a media darling with celebrity status who has promoted her personal brand around the world. On pit road, this Nationwide Series driver will be autographing Sports Illustrated swimsuit pictures of herself. She will be surrounded by professional media handlers who will carefully craft her image.

The topper is that the only larger media personality currently in the sport is her NASCAR owner. There will be a regular media frenzy when Danica and Junior get together to face reporters. It should also be very interesting to see exactly who those reporters will be.

The dwindling NASCAR press corp took another hit recently with the announcement that veteran reporter Dustin Long will released by his employer, Landmark Newspapers, after this season. It's an all too familiar scenario as the painful shift from print to online media continues around the world.

Now, for better or worse, new media outlets are going to have to consider coverage of NASCAR's Triple A series for next season. Will TMZ Sports and Entertainment Tonight hit the dusty Nationwide Series trail? How many entertainment reporters will suddenly pop-up at key races?

Nothing is hotter right now than celebrity-driven reality television series. You think perhaps the NASCAR Media Group will be producing a primetime TV series about Patrick's first full time season? Remember, the person does not need to actually succeed, but just generate enough content to keep Americans interested in watching. Sound familiar?

Imagine being at ESPN right now. The network has Danica exclusively next season in the Nationwide Series races but SPEED televises most of the practice and qualifying for that series. Patrick may well enjoy the younger and more casual TV approach of SPEED to the suits and ties of ESPN.

Having the NFC make Danica a topic is just a tiny peek into the very active conversations taking place in the sport right now about how to make the best of her presence and just how to change the current Nationwide Series media coverage to support that effort. The Danica countdown clock is officially running.

We invite your comments on how you think Danica might affect or change the media coverage of the Nationwide Series and the sport in general. To add your opinion, just click the comments button below.

38 comments:

Sam said...

This is turning into the most over hyped thing in the history of American sports TV. I truly think she will underwhelm the crap out of us. She will absolutely not drive me to watch racing any more, or perhaps even less if it's all this DP crap 24/7. Just as golf has found that putting all it's eggs in one basket wasn't such a smart idea (TW) the racing media hasn't learned a thing from it.

RPM said...

Danica can't be anything but good for NASCAR. While the hype factor will turn many off, if you were'nt a member of Jr Nation, that did the same thing to fans.

I predict NASCAR will follow it's usual modus operandi and ride this pony till it falls dead in it's tracks, then look for the next latest and greatest thing to promote.

Who knows, she may even win a race next season (if race control has anything to do with it). Can you imagine what that would do for sagging ratings?

Darcie said...

Danica will be a curiosity for a while, and will add to the coffers of JR Motorsports and Stewart Haas Racing through product sales. She will be promoted 24/7, to the detriment of every other driver. Her"brand" will be shoved down everyone's throat ad nauseum. NASCAR and the TV networks will ride the Danica train, and I'm afraid it will be all Danica, all the time. For a while.

How long will this phenom last if she "Hornishes" in her first couple seasons? How long will the goodwill last, especially if she pulls her spoiled brat routine of shoving her competitors or stomping off in a hissy fit, throwing her gloves and helmet on the ground? What will happen if she gets into a shoving match with the likes of Kyle Busch? Would any driver have the cojones to shove her back? The guys she pulled that with in Indy Car didn't dare pop the princess, but I just can't see Eddie Haskell Edwards or Guitar Smashing Kyle letting her get away with that.

Only time will tell if she succeeds, but I have my doubts. If she can't do well driving an easier handling Indy Car, chances are she might not get a grip on the much heavier and finicky COT. But I think NASCAR and the broadcast networks will make hay on Danica's brand until if, or when, she falters.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
The gauntlet has been thrown down ...a marketing machine that would be tne envy of Big Bill and Bill Jr ...unlike the days of JD Stacy, Ginn Racing, et al, the money behind this juggernaut seems real and has an actual revenue stream to keep the hype rolling ...good for NNS? Yes ...good for the competition? Yes ...interesting to see if other sponsors rev up their promotional efforts ...could be that ESPN's customary overkill will be a death knell for its current level of involvement with NNS in particular and NASCAR in general ...ho, hum - it may well be Danica week every week ...enough so that fans' distaste for such shilling will bring about a positive change ...oh well, we can only hope ...not much place to go for NNS, but up ...somebody will find a way to make it work ..perhaps it will be ESPN
Walter

Zetona said...

Hopefully having Danica around every week will bring money and eyeballs to other teams in the series as well. Maybe they can then close the gap to the teams that always field Cup drivers.

It would certainly be annoying to have the coverage glued on Danica every week if she's running 2 laps down in 25th every week, but I compared her results in the 7 car this year to Josh Wise's, and she runs no worse in the 7 than he does. Unfortunately, the 7 seems to be about a top-15 car at best. Maybe that will mean more coverage for the cars Danica battles for 15th.

GinaV24 said...

don't get turned off? Let's see, NASCAR and ESPN will attempt to beat me over the head again with another driver that I'm supposed to get excited about. Just as they did with Montoya and still do with Jr. I don't dislike Danica other than that I do not consider her to be worth this amount of attention as a driver. She's done a great job of "selling" herself.

Between Rusty and Brad driving me crazy and ESPN's poorly done coverage, I tend to watch less and less Nationwide races. Danica will not make me watch more of it.

Anonymous said...

My predictions:

Danica will provide a small initial bump in TV ratings, but that will eventually dissipate as people tuning in realize she's not competitive week in and week out.

At track attendance will remain flat. She hasn't put many additional butts in seats in the Indycar Series or in her limited NASCAR races.

The media will continue to hype her, as they continue to hype her owner, in hopes of generating viewers and page views.

Danica will be competitive on plate tracks. She will earn a couple of top tens thru pit strategy and fuel mileage but she will rarely, if ever, flat out race her way into the top five and maybe even the top ten.

As for the PR professionals who "carefully craft her image," take a look at Michael Knight's SpinDoctor500blog and see what someone with a real racing PR background has to say. It would seem this image has been created in spite of her team, not because of it.

The reality is she's a mediocre driver at best. She's far from the best Indycar driver to try to make the jump to NASCAR. Guys like Dario and Hornish have much longer stats on the back of their trading cards yet they still failed in NASCAR. What makes anyone with a realistic view of things think Danica will fare any better?

This is simply a money grab, by JR Motorsports, by Danica, and by those who market her. Three years from now the experiment will be over, GoDaddy.com will have spent $80 million, Danica will have banked a significant amount herself and she'll then fade off into oblivion like the rest of the open wheel drivers who've tried to make the switch.

Anonymous said...

JD.......who where you referring to when you said....."the person does not need to actually succeed"......"Sound familiar"...?

It seems all, NASCAR, networks, newspapers and all articles online, love to make money on these so called unsuccessful popular drivers but put them down at the same time.

Seems to me one popular driver is ninth among forty three drivers so only 8 drivers should race each week since all others are unsucessful. If you could only race if you had won that year then the field would be small.

Danica deserves a chance just like the other unsuccessful drivers that race each week. She will succeed or fail but
she deserves a chance.

We all forget that any sport is a business and one would be foolish not to showcase the product that made the most money for that business.

Ls

Anonymous said...

Also I think Danica should be treated the same as the men. If she wants to push or shove a driver then she should expect the same in return.

Ls

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:35PM,

Examples are Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, etc...

Anonymous said...

I assumed you were referring to the sport you were writing about. Sorry

Ls

Anonymous said...

In my mind, this blog has now become part of the Danica hype machine. Let's get a little perspective here.

You said "Is Patrick a ticket-selling machine who will also sky the TV ratings as a full time driver? Is she a face and personality that can get NASCAR across media bridges it has never been able to cross? Is this NASCAR's dream come true?"---Was she any of the above for the IndyCar Series?

You said "Will TMZ Sports and Entertainment Tonight hit the dusty Nationwide Series trail? How many entertainment reporters will suddenly pop-up at key races?"---Ummm, were they there at the IndyCar races?

What the media keeps trying to sell us (including this blog with its constant "wave hitting the beach" metaphors) is that Danica has some HUGE following who will no doubt FLOCK to these NASCAR races. They also like to tell us that non-race fans are also familiar with her. Well if her alleged army of fans weren't showing up for the Indy races or watching them on TV, what makes anyone think they will suddenly become overnight NASCAR fans? And by the way, none of the non-race fans I know can recognize her name.

Jerome said...

I would like to think that this would be a good thing. i doubt it. ESPN has tried to kill the nationwide series with it's horrible TV coverage. Ther may be more viewers, especially initially, but it will only help the other drivers if they benefit from being shown on TV. I imagine it will be nonstop Danica coverage, with occasional shots of the cup regulars who currently get most of the TV time. Danica's presence does not make me want to watch; I';ve already stopped watching the series because of the Cup driver's domination and the shoddy TV coverage.

Anonymous said...

JD, what's your definition of success? Simpson had a moderate singing career, and has turned that into a billion dollar empire. I'd take that kind of success any day. It's unfair to link Danica to Kardashian & Hilton. She was a champion kart racer and worked her way up. She's been on mediocre teams...maybe that's all she would have been able to do, maybe not. But she's not talentless.

Anonymous said...

It's no biggee! Previous weeks in Fan Council have pertained to individual drivers in Nationwide. One survey asked questions regarding Travis Pastrana, another asked about Justin Allgaier.

Anonymous said...

If by some very badly advised chance the NASCAR Nationwide series looks like "the NASCAR Danica series" on TV, they will absolutely lose me as a viewer. Better NMG produces a separate TV series for her & leave RACE COVERAGE alone.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many laps Kim, Paris or Jessica could make around a track in traffic? At least Danica has proved capable of that.

Garry said...

If I ever contract cancer, I sure am glad that Dr. Patrick can cure me. As she walks on water through the waiting room saving souls, she can gently heal me. Jennifer JoCobb is better looking, and a BETTER driver. What's wrong with this picture?

SnowdogBob said...

Nascar must be brave to ask that question of the fan council. Not sure they'll expect the level of disinterest they'll likely get. At least I would assume the fan council is made up of people who are already more than a casual (watch 3 races a year) fans and for many of those Danica is just a distraction from a sport they already (hopefully) love. The value of Danica is in converting the 3 race a year fan into a more regular interested party and in bringing new eyeballs and I would be surprised if those people are in the fan council to sound the "Excitement" horn. If you're already a fan and watching the race "the next new toy" is just that...something you wait for the announcers to get sick of and get back to talking about racing.

OSBORNK said...

As Anon 11:20 said "And by the way, none of the non-race fans I know can recognize her name", it won't put any person that is not already a fan in the seats or in front of a TV. The casual fan who has heard of her may pay attention in the beginning but it won't last long and may drive some of the more traditional fans who actually want to watch racing away.

I don't like the hype of any driver and I just want to see good racing covered well. Recently, I don't know if there was good racing because the coverage was not good.

robbiejr said...

Sam said, "She will absolutely not drive me to watch racing any more, or perhaps even less if it's all this DP crap 24/7."

Hey, if ESPN can pay the University of Texas 30 million for the Longhorn Network, maybe they can pay someone for a Danica Network. Then all you'll see of her is during the race, unless you buy into the Danica Channel.

The Mad Man said...

The NFC has been used as little more than a marketing research tool rather than actually listening to what the fans have to say and want.

That being said, all of the hype, marketing, branding, etc. will push fans away once again the same way it has with some other drivers who don't deliver on the hype.

Danica hasn't put fans in the stands for IndyCar or NASCAR, she's managed to alienate race fans in both racing organizations, and other than her ability to market herself, what has she really accomplished?

And with her dislike of road course racing, maybe she should consider drag racing instead? They only have to go straight when they race.

She'll be force-fed to us until the next Savior of NASCAR comes along. Break out the Tums,Pepto, and insulin.

Toady; Anonymous said...

If ESPN is going to over hype DP then they could start on NASCAR Now.
It was to be on during the 9 o’clock hour last night, the DVR was set and I dutifully turned on ESPN2 and we sat up to watch…….. Some blowhards arguing about football I think don’t know I changed the channel.
No worries to you out there worrying that ESPN will go overboard on Danica, late with the show or not at all. This, the NNS, seen on ESPN/ABC will fade into football oblivion seen between kick off and victory dances.
If she succeeds then it will become a story, a big story and will follow her into the cup series, regardless of her qualifications, perceived or real.
Women can compete straight-up against men in very few sports and our sport provides that opportunity, today’s media will glom onto this like tar, it’s a story that they don’t have to work at to “get the story” and as long as it lasts they and DP will be making boatloads of cash.
Men only in the professional games they play.
Men and women in the major league sport of motor racing.

FYI: My wife got that survey the other day and like a lot of the Fan Surveys she gets we do raise our eyebrows wondering what and why they are asking some odd questions sometimes. She was asked to participate and we don’t know why, we haven’t been to a race (Phoenix) since ’09 When the opportunity arose we jumped at the chance to give our feelings. Except most of the questions are a yes or no kind of thing.
We are and have been motor racing fans forever, my wife and I met at a racetrack and we watch all the NASCAR races. To be clear, all NASCAR races, Cup, Nationwide and Trucks. We watch F-1, NHRA (great on ESPN3.com), SuperX, ANY Sprint car race and on and on.
I’m old; I had to listen to the great Jackie Strwart scold Cale Yarborough because he wasn’t holding the steering wheel in the classic 10-2 position at Daytona. Picture Cale holding on for dear life on the high banks of Daytona (Been there at least 5 times) as seen on Wide World of Sports sandwiched of course with figuring skating or something.
So who cares what the talking heads are saying, I’m here for the racing and tuned them out in the ‘60’s.
If DP does well then good for her, if not at least the car is bright enough to see almost any time, except of course for those close-up and bumper cam shots the produces love.
If DP fades to the back, oh well see ya’, whose leading? It’s still just racing and she looks good enough to this point to compete on an even level.

Vince said...

I'm on the NFC, but didn't get a survey this week. :( But I think DP will be a plus for a series that is in dire need a NNS personality and not the usual Cup personalities that are force fed to us every week by ESPN.

The facts are Danica has a huge following across all demographics. She will put butts in the stands for the NNS races and eyes on the TV broadcasts. Which will be a big plus for a series that needs a kick in the pants.

Hate Danica all you want, but have you lead 4 laps at Indy? It takes a set of big ones to go off into the first turn at Indy at over 200mph and not lift. She has talent and has done progressively better in her NNS runs this season, especially at the tracks she's been to before.

As far as the hype, it's no different than the hype for Jr. or KyBu or JJ. Jr's not really done much the last few years, but is still hyped because of who he is and who his father was. He can't help it that he's hyped and more than Danica can. She's young, good looking and drives fast. If I was a sponsor I'd be signing her up and hyping her too. You'd be a fool not to.

I do not see any negatives to her coming to NASCAR at all. But Indy Car has problems. The slow decline of that series is only going to get worse.

My 2 cents.

Sophia said...

I got the fan council on DP. I answered it as I saw fit & indeed, said there was too much of her in the media.

She's a decent driver in OW but the hype between her commercials & NASCAR yapping non stop already, I am avoiding much nascar news these days.

The sport is ignorant to think ONE PERSON can change everything.

Just like they blame the poorer ratings on Jr not winning.

GinaV24 said...

Vince, I didn't get one either. I wonder how they decided who to send it to?

Kenn Fong said...

J.D.,

It seems odd that the NASCAR Fan Council would ask its voters about Danica. Sure, some respondents are going to bash her, and claim they will stop watching. But I think there will be a net gain and that will come from an influx on that species some of your readers seem to equate with Sasquatch, the "casual fan."

Whether that transfers to more or fewer tickets sold is an open question. There's no doubt there'll be a flood of new money coming in to buy her logo merchandise.

However, I think what some of your respondents miss is that Danica is the rising tide that floats all boats.

Now that she's in Nationwide, local Sunday night sports round-up shows are going to mention her and Nationwide, especially if she manages a top 10 finish once in a while. Outside of the Southeast, when was the last time Nationwide got prominent play in local and regional media outside of the Southeast, unless it was for some made for YouTube crash?

This prominent play will certainly result in a ratings bump. If it's sustained, that may encourage sponsors on other teams to extend their programs.

I know this, though. Bob Parsons didn't build GoDaddy into an empire without knowing marketing, and he wouldn't be raising the ante if he didn't think it would pay off.

I can tell you one female sports fan who wasn't watching NASCAR at all, ever, told me she was innterested and intends to tune in a few times next season. (She didn't watch any of Danica's Nationwide races because with a partial schedule, she didn't know when she was driving and her interest wasn't strong enough to make a weekly commitment to Google the information.) She won't ever buy a ticket or any logo merch, but she buys car insurance, tires, soda pop, and the other products advertised during the race. Some may skoff, but her eyeballs are worth something.

As my own interest in Sprint Cup continues to dwindle, I will be more interested in Nationwide next season.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Cariessa said...

"Don't get turned off by this topic, it's not about Danica"

The whole damn article was about Danica. Even when we're not talking about Danica you talk about Danica!

At this point if the woman succeeds in living up to the hype she'll have to win championships in all three major series, take rookie of the year in all three, win the Indy 500, fix the economy, create enough jobs to bring unemployment down to 1% AND save about a million puppies from being put to sleep.

Bill said...

It's been too long ago for me to remember if Junior's success in the 8 car was due more to his driving skill, or the skill of his crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. Thus, I don't know if I should be surprised at his skill at keeping his trainee driver somewhat competitive, and if I'm not mistaken, when Danica is not in the seat of the 7, Eury Jr is not on the box, so it is impossible to compare the success of the 7 when she isn't driving.

Tony Eury and Danica have developed a very strong bond, and both have gone out of their way to develop that critical communication between driver and crew chief. I wonder if half as much work was put into the Hornish/Franchitti assimilation, or were their cars as strong?

Sadly, Danica may not have the talent, nor the level of testosterone in the blood necessary to see her pull a Kyle Busch-esque charge through the field, on the way to a stunning come from behind victory. However, I think she is a capable and a reasonably patient, yet still very competitive driver (possible credit to her LACK of testosterone here, despite her occasional foot stomping, spoiled brattishness), and with a Hendrick car and Eury's talent, she may snatch a fuel mileage victory somewhere, but I doubt if we'll see much more than that.

And once the initial novelty wears off, fans aren't going to flock to the tracks or the TV unless she surprises us all and starts winning.

If that girl can flat out win a race by outdriving the rest of the field, the media will go absolutely berserk, and if she begins to win on a regular basis and contend for a championship, that will put the entire world of sports on its ear.

That kind of performance could quite possibly forever change NASCAR and motorsports in general for the better, yet she will STILL not get any respect from the hardcore fans, and as with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson's past success, they will again credit the success to superior equipment, or that the races are rigged.

Anonymous said...

@ Vince - Where is her "huge following"? Like I said, they weren't buying tickets to see her race Indycars, and they weren't watching her on TV either, if you look at their ratings.

@ Kenn Fong - If the "casual fan" wasn't interested in her before, why will they suddenly decide to watch her now?

I realize she has fans, and that there will most likely be a bump in interest initially, but if you believe the hype this blog puts out about her, you'd think she's going to single-handedly carry NASCAR's ratings into the stratosphere. Not gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

Funny, and the end of each NFC survey I take, it reminds me that the information in the survey is supposed to remain confidential.

Kenn Fong said...

@Anon 4:00 PM

My friend doesn't like racing generally.

And it's pretty low of you to accuse someone I have known for decades and you've never met of being disingenuous.

WCK

Anonymous said...

"Double-secret NASCAR Fan Council survey" is right! I am a member of the NFC, but I did not receive a copy of that survey (there have been a very few other race weeks that I did not receive a survey).

Whether or not Danica will be good for NASCAR or networks that cover NASCAR remains to be seen. Personally, I hope the surprises the hell out of everyone and becomes a successful race driver. If that happens, other women such as Jennifer Jo Cobb, Johanna Long, and other women just might be able to attract better sponsors and get into better cars. Whether or not that will actually happens, we will have to wait and see.

According to her Wikipedia page, she has won 1 race, has 6 Podium finishes (top 3) and 61 top 10s (P4 to P10) in 111 Indy Car starts. There are probably a few NNS AND NSCS drivers that would be happy to have those stats.

Danica will not change how I watch races, unless she turns into another Kyle Busch and intentionally wrecks other cars to get ahead. I frequently skip watching NNS and NCWTS races that Kyle Busch runs.

Vince said...

Anon@4:00pm,

I guess you haven't seen the lines at her souvenir trailer or the long lines at the mandatory Indy car autograph sessions before their races.

If you don't like Danica, just say so. But she does have a huge fan base.

The reason there aren't fans in the stands at the Indy car races has nothing to do with her. Have you even been to an Indy car race? I have on one of the ovals. One word, boring. At the end of the first 20 laps you can't tell who is running where the cars are so strung out. And you're lucky if they finish with a half dozen cars on the lead lap. Plus the cars all look alike and at least up til next year have the same engine packages.

If you don't think Danica has a huge following, you haven't been paying attention.

RPM said...

"Examples are Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, etc..."

Seriously, JD? I don't even see her in the same category.

Anonymous said...

This is the same old argument with a different name. If you like racing and/or dont have anything to do you will watch regardless. If you dont you wont.

You just have to wonder about this thing about "the third most popular female sports personality." Must not be much competition.

Anonymous said...

Vince - To be clear, my remarks are not to be construed as a dislike of Danica herself. In fact, I was rooting for her to win at Daytona and I am looking forward to seeing how she does over the course of an entire season. But, you see, I am already a race fan, so there is no net gain there for NASCAR.

My frustration is aimed squarely at the media types who will swear that this is the single biggest event in the history of NASCAR. If you don't believe me, just re-read the blog post we are both commenting on.

Anon @4:00 pm

Anonymous said...

"A rising tide raises all boats."

I like an analogy as well as the next person, but they are often inaccurate and lead to false conclusions. In this case, you can look out on a shallow harbor and see many boats. Unknown to you, some of the boats may have a hole in the hull and actually be resting on the bottom. A rising tide only makes things worse for these boats and may actually make them disappear.

Let's assume there is a 20% increase in Nationwide ratings purely as a result of Danica. There's little doubt that is good for Danica, good for Bob Parsons and GoDaddy, good for ESPN, and good for NASCAR in the short term. Whether or not that is good for the other Nationwide teams and the long term health of the series is an entirely different issue.

In my view, the most serious issue facing the series is the financial health of the full time Nationwide teams. I think this has been caused in good part by ESPN concentrating on a few favorite drivers and avoiding the rest of the field. They have been getting zero attention. And potential sponsors are getting zero exposure. So what if ratings are up 20%? A 20% increase of zero is still zero. I don't see what gain there is to a potential sponsor to sign on to a team that still gets no exposure.

It may be worse than that. ESPN has a fixed number of broadcast minutes to fill at each race. If they use more of that time to focus on Danica, where is it coming from? Someone has to be losing minutes of exposure. I think the focus on Danica will only make things worse for the other Nationwide teams in terms of getting attention and sponsorship.

I think we will see increasing numbers of start and park teams and eventually their demise. A short field could become a regular occurrence. Some of these teams are already like boats with holes in the hull resting on the bottom of a shallow harbor. The arrival of a rising Danica tide could be fatal for some of them.

The truck series is already on life support, and the Nationwide series looks vulnerable. A ratings rise connected to Danica could conceal long term damage to the Nationwide series. She hopes and expects to move full time to the Cup series. I wonder what financial damage to the other teams will be left in her wake.

On another note, I already cringe at the thought of Darrell Waltrip fawning over her and leering at her. I don't know if my stomach can take it.

In case you are wondering about my motives, I'm just here for the racing. I'm not a Danica fan and I don't hate her. I think female drivers can compete evenly with male drivers since the adoption of power steering and effective driver cooling systems. I have a low tolerance for hype and the cult of personality. Let's just run the race and see who wins.