by Ryan Isley
I had all intentions of sitting down and writing about how well Danica Patrick raced in the Aaron’s 312 on Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I really did. I know most of you won’t believe me because I have written negative pieces on her in the past. But if you look at my Twitter timeline from Saturday afternoon, you will see how complimentary I was of Danica throughout the race.
I thought Danica ran a really good race with her lack of experience at Talladega Superspeedway, picking her spots when she could move up and not trying to make too much happen. She was patient when looking to draft and despite getting out of line a few times and dropping back in the pack, she was always able to return near the front very quickly.
There were a number of wrecks that changed the course of the race but unlike at Daytona in February, Danica was not involved in any of them. In fact, she had done a good job of avoiding a wreck with four laps remaining when Danny Efland came up the track near her after being hit.
She had a good car and she was doing a tremendous job of driving the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. She actually held the lead at one point and ran in the top-10 for most of the day before finishing 13th.
In fact, I had even tweeted that her biggest problem on the day would not be the way that she was racing, but that she was having problems finding a drafting partner. Each time she left the draft and tried to go out on her own, nobody would draft with her and it left her out to dry.
But just as I was getting ready to sing her praises and give her credit for running a great race and not getting herself into bad situations, Danica showed that she is still Danica.
On the final lap, Sam Hornish, Jr. pushed Danica up the track and into the wall, causing Danica to finish outside the top-10. As the cars were running the cool down lap, Danica went hunting for Hornish, Jr. and found him. When she approached the No.12 car of Hornish, Jr., she tapped the back of the car, spinning him into the wall. It was blatant retaliation.
It is just another chapter in the book Danica is writing on how not to keep your cool during and after a race.
In the 2008 Indianapolis 500, Danica was screaming at her crew all day about how bad she felt the car was and then when her day was ended early in a wreck on pit road with Ryan Briscoe, Danica was ready fight Briscoe before finally leaving the track.
In 2010, Danica was heated after a wreck between her and James Beuscher at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana when Danica was running in 17th position, blaming Buescher for wrecking her intentionally. The wreck caused Danica to finish 30th.
Last season when she was wrecked at Bristol, she walked onto the track and gestured toward Ryan Truex, who was involved in the wreck with her. While the wreck looks like an accident on Truex’s part, Danica treated it as if Truex was out to wreck her on purpose.
Just when you thought Danica may have grown up, she went back at it again in the first Nationwide Series race this season at Daytona. Following a wreck in which she was spun by Cole Whitt while the two were drafting, she began screaming expletives on her radio.
These are only a few examples of the explosiveness of Danica’s temper, but you get the picture.
The sad part for Danica is that she seems to be improving in her first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series but she just can’t seem to keep her head on straight long enough to take advantage of it. The more negative reactions that Danica has and the more she wants to play the blame game, the less she will be taken seriously by other drivers and fans.
Or maybe the other drivers already aren’t taking her seriously and that’s why nobody would draft with her.
Feel the criticism for Danica is unfair? Or do you agree with Ryan? Leave a comment or email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org