NASCAR

NSCS: What Happens if Danica Patrick Wins the Daytona 500?

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Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images

 

By Katie Copple-NASCAR Contributor

February 23, 2014

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla– What would happen if Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500?

Well, if you thought the media coverage after her historic pole award last season was a lot, then winning the Great American Race would probably break social media outlets across the globe.

Patrick is one of NASCAR’s most polarizing and popular figures, and being a female in a male-dominated world brings scrutiny and criticism. It also means all eyes are on Patrick.

Patrick, as mentioned above, started on the pole for the Daytona 500 last season, and ran up front for all 500 miles. Running third after taking the white flag, many thought that she might just have a chance. Instead, inexperience got the best of her, and she fell to eighth after her former car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., made a move to try and win the race.

Her eighth place finish was the highest finish for a female in NASCAR’s top tier division, and it made headlines all over the world, even topping Jimmie Johnson’s second Daytona 500 victory media tour at some points.

That was just from finishing eighth.

If she could win the Daytona 500, not only would history be made, but NASCAR would also go where it has never been before. Patrick is a celebrity in every sense of the word and just this weekend, reached the milestone Twitter mark of one million followers. A victory lane visit from the long-haired maiden would be epic.

It would also show the “Dani-Can’t” that she deserves to be in the No.10 Chevrolet. Maybe Richard Petty and his son, Kyle Petty, would finally jump in on the Patrick bandwagon…it could happen.

Restrictor plate races are Patrick’s greatest shot at a victory in the Sprint Cup Series, and Daytona is the biggest stage the sport has to offer. Patrick thrives under pressure as well.

A victory for her at the Daytona 500 would put NASCAR in the history books, and not just the motorsports ones. It would be the first victory for a woman in NASCAR’s top-tier series, and it would mean more to female racers than one can even imagine.

Can she win it? There are countless fans, analysts, teams and drivers who believe she can. After last season, Patrick says she is more prepared to make that race-winning move than ever before, especially with the expansion of Stewart-Haas Racing.

Could 2014 be her year? She has to start from the back, but it’s been done before. Watch out boys, Patrick is coming through.

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