No one can say with authority that Danica Patrick isn’t a worthy professional racing driver, she is.
However, it can be said that she appeared in her early racing career as a potential super competitor turned mediocre by today’s standards.
Auto racing as an endeavor to master machinery under stress is agnostic to color, race, creed or gender. It doesn’t care. The bottom line is all that counts.
Unfortunately her bottom line has been more monetary than on track results.
GoDaddy ultimately took her in as a potential historical racing figure in which to base it’s main marketing focus. Now, after a very long stint as her primary sponsor, they are leaving.
The question now remains: Will Danica Patrick be able to move up in stature in NASCAR or slowly grind her way back down the grid?
As it stands she shows brief flashes of skill on par with her main competitors, her teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing, but hasn’t delivered on-track as hoped. As long as the money train was in play, she was very relevant to both IndyCar and NASCAR.
In IndyCar she won one race. In virtually all of the lower formulas of her racing after Formula Ford, she was merely a few steps above average.
What she has excelled at is marketing. Other than the Earnhardt clan she may be the most marketable driver to have driven in either series.
Racing teams, racing series and corporations have flocked to her, used what they needed and either they moved on or she did. Ask Bobby Rahal how he feels.
Whatever the reasons, it has to be understood that all is fair in ‘Love, War and Racing’. She used whatever she needed to get where she is and no one can take that from her or fault her.
What can be taken from her is that if she can’t produce another sponsor at GoDaddy’s level, she will move further down the grid. Stewart Haas didn’t hire her for her driving prowess. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the money doesn’t get spread around the SHR camp.
However you look at it, she won’t see equipment like she presently enjoys should SHR decide to cut her loose.
I’ve no doubt that she will land on her feet, but unless she can show up with the magic funding number, she won’t get another chance. She’ll be the next single car team driver du jour.
Should Patrick fail to produce the dollars required to keep her on a top team, she may very well do herself a favor and move to a sports car endurance series such as the Tudor series or even the World Endurance Championship.
GoDaddy is on record as saying they want a more global marketing presence, which would make WEC sense, but that may not include Danica Patrick.
The bottom line? When you run out of cash, they take you out of the game.