Danica and JR Motorsports made it official, announcing that she had signed a two year deal with the team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr and Rick Hendrick to drive in the Nationwide and ARCA series. Kelley Earnhardt, General Manager for JR Motorsports said
“I expect her to be eaten up by the wolves.”
Face it, the story is huge. Yesterday, our resident open-wheel expert, gearhead
, gave us his perspective
on the signing. So what is the perspective from a NASCAR fan? Well, like Eric, I will not profess to speak for all NASCAR fans, after all, I’m an anomaly, female and from Canada.
However, I can tell you what I
Honestly, I’m torn. Part of me is happy to have a female in NASCAR, one who is already a “name” and has some success in racing. Another part of me is pissed that no one wanted to give Chrissy Wallace an opportunity to drive in a premiere series, but that's a topic for another day.
She is a “name”. There are very few people who don’t know who Danica is. Is her signing to drive NASCAR a positive or a negative thing for NASCAR?
The Pros are, she will likely bring more people to NASCAR to see what she can do, basically out of curiosity, and those fans may see something they like, and become true fans. There is a possibility that more female fans will come to NASCAR, and become true fans. There will undoubtedly be more male viewers, just to ogle her, again, who may become true fans. I’m sure that Dale Jr and Rick Hendrick already have considered the souvenir issue, and with Kelley Earnhardt in charge, they will make the most of that, no doubt offering a ton of sanctioned shirts, caps, cozies, jackets, jammies, etc. So all those ladies out there who think that they are just as hot as Danica will have the opportunity to wear her clothes, so to speak.
There are more, of course, but those are the ones that quickly come to mind.
The cons could be the same as the pros, depending on how you look at it. I mean, if people are going to start following NASCAR, just to ogle Danica and not be real fans, is that good for the sport? Do true NASCAR fans who know at least the recent history, the drivers, the sponsors and the rules want casual fans invading their space? Do female fans want a female driver? Or will they view her as “competition”? Will Danica be hated by the female fans? Or will she be embraced as yet another pioneer? Of course, female fans might not say what they really think anyway.
Then there is the sponsor issue. GoDaddy.com has agreed to sponsor Danica for the races she will run, but I have another option. If any of you NASCAR fans watch SPEED, as I do, you’ve likely seen the ads for “ExtenZe”. It’s promoted as a “Male Health Supplement” during the day, but when the sun goes down, the ads become a little more……specific and descriptive. If you Wiki ExtenZe
, the opening sentence states:
"ExtenZe is an herbal nutitional supplement claimed to promote "natural male enhancement", which suggests a euphemism for penis enlargement."
Now, “ExtenZe” has a female supplement
. Their website claims,
"Women Extenze Changes The Game - No longer are guys the only ones having fun!"
The Company already sponsors Kevin Conway in the Nationwide Series, so they are no strangers to NASCAR. It seems it could be a match made in heaven. Danica could promote the female version, brining more attention to the product, more female fans to the sport and possibly the product, and opening up a whole new realm of possibilities.
She obviously doesn't have a problem with the photo shoots, the GoDaddy.com commercials were too racy for TV and had to be concluded online.
Yep, all we have to do is open our minds and lower our expectations just a little. This Danica in NASCAR thing could be interesting on a whole different level no one ever thought of.