Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Everybody's Gone NASCAR

"He says I don't believe in money
But a man could make him a killin..."

Like the Alan Jackson song about everybody wanting in on country music in the 1990s, last week's announcement of Juan Pablo Montoya switching from F1 to NASCAR and Danica Patrick's flirtation with a stock car ride suggest a similar phenomenon may be true in NASCAR. It remains to be seen how quickly, or even whether, these open wheel drivers will find success in NASCAR's top division. Tony Stewart is the only genuine open wheel cross-over to have made a successful transition in recent times. Montoya may discover that a heavy Dodge stock car is a lot harder to drive than his high-tech Mercedes and find it difficult to maintain the concentration needed to hit his marks in a four-hour, 500-mile oval race. Danica risks undermining all her IRL success when the weight advantage she presently enjoys is prohibited by the NASCAR rulebook. All questions will be answered in time, but NASCAR must be giddy with the interest it's attracting from non-American drivers and particularly pleased with what this means for its prized Diversity Program.

1 comment:

Webber said...

I can't speak for Montoya... I still don't get that. I think it truly is the racing. But with Danica, I'll bet it is money. She can make more in endorsements in Nascar than she can in open whell, which is in its death throws in the U.S. of A.