The Danica Effect on NASCAR

Speculation is ramping up that Danica Patrick, the beautiful, spunky driver that took the Indy Racing League by storm four years ago, is interested in switching to NASCAR. Why move when she has enjoyed fame and some success (one victory) in the IRL? NASCAR is the premier auto racing league in this country. It attracts sponsor and media dollars that dwarf Indy Racing. Many experts believe a move by Patrick to NASCAR would create immense sponsor interest, increase ticket sales, and boost television ratings.

While the idea of Danica Patrick competing in NASCAR and the marketing opportunities it would create is intriguing, the impact of her presence would likely be more noticeable in the short-term than the long-term. The addition of Danica to NASCAR would create great fan interest; broadcasters and track promoters could incorporate Patrick into story lines used to market races. Once she joins the fray, she will have to be competitive. Danica would need to be on a competitive team in order to best leverage her marketing assets. If she does not win races or at least run well consistently, her appeal will diminish.

Danica Patrick is a pretty big fish in the rather small pond known as the Indy Racing Series. A move to NASCAR would make her a distinctive fish as the only female driver, but she would have to win the loyalty of fans by her performance on the track. If she succeeds in that regard, her marketing potential soars even higher. If not, she would join Sam Hornish, Jr. and Dario Franchitti as drivers whose jump from the IRL to NASCAR sounded like a "thud."

Ad Age - "What Danica Could Do for NASCAR, Sponsors"

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