Can Pa­trick re­alise ‘Dan­ica Dou­ble’?

Sunday News - - MOTORSPORT -

DAN­ICA Pa­trick’s hopes of clos­ing out her rac­ing ca­reer with the 2018 Day­tona 500 and Indianapolis 500 races – the ‘‘Dan­ica Dou­ble’’ – have hit a ma­jor dead end. But there’s still a chance, es­pe­cially at Indianapolis, for her to find rides.

The pres­i­dent of Chip Ganassi Rac­ing on Fri­day said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was no longer hold­ing dis­cus­sions with Pa­trick about hav­ing her drive one of its cars in the races.

Ganassi is one of two teams that fields cars in both the Nascar Cup Se­ries and Ver­i­zon IndyCar cir­cuits, and thus could of­fer Pa­trick a ride in the most pres­ti­gious race on each cir­cuit.

Steve Lauletta made the com­ments on Sir­iusXM Nascar Ra­dio’s Di­aled In show, ac­cord­ing to NBC Sports.

‘‘We’re not talk­ing any longer,’’ Lauletta said. ‘‘I think it would have made sense, and we did have con­ver­sa­tions if she wanted to run in both races, the Day­tona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, and ul­ti­mately we couldn’t come to a so­lu­tion that worked for both of us.’’

Team Penske, the other rac­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion that runs cars in both Nascar’s and the open-wheel IndyCar’s top cir­cuits, ruled out run­ning an ex­tra car for Pa­trick at the Indy 500 not long af­ter she con­firmed her re­tire­ment in Novem­ber.

Pa­trick com­peted on both cir­cuits dur­ing her rac­ing ca­reer. She was the first woman to win an IndyCar race, the 2008 Ja­pan 300, and fin­ished third in the 2009 Indy 500. She was open-wheel cir­cuit’s most pop­u­lar driver for sev­eral years. With Nascar, Pa­trick be­came the first woman to take a Cup Se­ries pole, for the 2013 Day­tona 500.

Ac­cord­ing to USA TO­DAY, both Pa­trick and Ganassi con­firmed in Novem­ber that talks had taken place about a ‘‘Dan­ica Dou­ble’’.

While those talks have ended, Lauletta said he still thinks Dan­ica will find a ride for the May 27 Indy 500.

‘‘ . . . She knows her way around,’’ Lauletta said. ‘‘There are teams that run just the Indianapolis 500 be­cause of the size of the event it­self and the his­tory of it. I think that they’ll be able to put some­thing to­gether and cer­tainly wish them luck.’’

A typ­i­cal Indy 500 tele­vi­sion au­di­ence in­cludes sports fans who wouldn’t nor­mally watch an IndyCar race, or even any other mo­tor­sports event.

The au­di­ence, 5.5 mil­lion view­ers in 2017, and the pay­out – re­port­edly US$2.5 mil­lion for the win­ner last year with a to­tal purse top­ping US$13.2 mil­lion – gives part-time driv­ers, such as Pa­trick, a chance to find an or­gan­i­sa­tion that’s will­ing to invest the money needed for a sin­gle race.

The Day­tona 500 has an even larger to­tal purse – re­port­edly US$18m to­tal in 2015, the last sea­son Nascar re­leased money to­tals for each race. But with that race just a lit­tle more than a month away – prac­tices be­gin Fe­bru­ary 10 – the win­dow is clos­ing.

It’s been nearly two months since Pa­trick an­nounced at Homestead-Mi­ami Race­way that the 2018 Day­tona 500 and Indy 500 would close out her rac­ing ca­reer and the 2017 Nascar Cup Se­ries sea­son would be her last as a full­time driver. Now the Ford Eco­boost 400 two days later may end up be­ing the fi­nal race of her ca­reer. – McClatchy

Danika Pa­trick has com­peted in both Nascar and IndyCars.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.