I thought there would be no more stories about Danica Patrick, but when the nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame were announced, some columnist stated Danica should be considered.
I’ve mentioned before that I thought too many members were inducted into the Hall of Fame each year and all you have to have done to get in was to have competed for several years. Why does someone think Danica deserves to be in this supposedly elite group? About the only thing she did in her five plus years in Cup racing was to get in the way.
Columnist Michael Massie states Danica will go down as the most overrated NASCAR driver of all time. Columnist Wesley Coburn says it all depends on how you define success. Looking at results and statistics, she has not performed at all, but in terms of marketing and inspiration she was a success. Does that qualify her for the Hall of Fame? I think not!
Danica Patrick raced for Stewart-Haas Racing and was given the best equipment in Cup racing. Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer have all been teammates with Danica, and they all were successful during her years of racing. Her teammates won races and qualified for the playoffs on a consistent basis, even winning the NASCAR Championship during her tenure.
Danica’s stats are some of the worst over a five-year period, considering the equipment she was driving. Danica raced in 191 Cup races over seven years and her best finish in the season-ending point standings was 24th.
Her only pole was a Daytona restrictor plate race and she had only seven top 10 finishes.
Most fans relate to Danica as a female. All told, Danica finishes as the only woman ever to start the Daytona 500 on the pole (2013) and lead laps on two separate occasions (five in 2013, two in 2014). She also owns the highest ever finish in the 500 (eighth in 2013), a record number of Cup Series top 10s (seven) and a career-best effort of sixth (Atlanta, 2014). That sixth place stands as the second-best finish in NASCAR history for a woman and the best in the sport’s modern era. But NASCAR is a sport for drivers, male or female, and results are based on drivers, not gender.
Aric Almirola is the proof we needed to show how poor Danica performed over her career. Almirola replaced Danica in Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018 and has performed on a par with his other teammates. After 16 races in his first season, Almirola has accumulated seven top-10 finishes. In 191 career starts in the Cup Series, Patrick recorded seven total top-10 finishes. Almirola has matched Patrick’s total 175 races faster. That’s pretty hard to believe considering the car has been borderline irrelevant over the last few seasons. Danica’s problem the last few seasons has never been more obvious and her fans can thank Aric Almirola for exposing the issue.