Homestead, Fla – I’ve been saying from months now, that if Danica Patrick didn’t find a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride that she should at least run the Indianapolis 500. I even wrote about it here on June 7.
Well, five months later, I was proven right. Patrick, 35, revealed on Friday from the Homestead-Miami Speedway that this will indeed be her final Cup season and that she’s going to run just the Daytona 500 as well as the Indianapolis 500 for 2018.
After that, her driving career is likely done.
When asked whom she would be racing for, Patrick was coy on naming teams. She did say while she doesn’t have anything set to announce at this moment, she is making moves and is far enough along that the “Danica Double” should be announced soon.
But, I have taken it a step further. I’ve been saying for a while now that if she were to do something like this, Chip Ganassi Racing made the most sense. Think about it, only Ganassi and Team Penske have teams in both NASCAR as well as the Verizon IndyCar Series. Penske, well the inn is full there. They’re expanding to a third car for 2018 on the Cup level with Ryan Blaney and scaling back from four cars to three on the INDYCAR side of things. Roger Penske said that he will field a fourth car at Indy for Helio Castroneves and that four cars was it. While he ran five this past May with Juan Pablo Montoya, he went as far as to say that Montoya can look elsewhere to race if he wants to run at Indy.
So, if he won’t field a car at Indy for a two-time ‘500 champion, he’s certainly not going to open one up for Patrick.
What about Ganassi?
They make the most sense.
They only field two cars in Cup and have room to grow. With Cup teams being allowed to field up to four cars, they have two additoinal entries open to their disposal. Plus, they field a NASCAR XFINITY Series team and could use the resources there to field a car for Patrick in a one-off effort at Daytona.
Then, as far as the INDYCAR side, Ganassi scaled back from four cars to two cars for 2018. They have the resources available to open up another car for Patrick at Indy too. They fielded five cars as recently as 2015 with Sebastian Saavedra as the one-off.
“I think it’s a great idea for her to do that,” Ganassi said Friday regarding hiring Danica. “It’s a fabulous marketing idea. It’s a fabulous opportunity and obviously the business side of the deal has to work. I’m a long way from saying, Yes I can do that.”
“She’s shown she can run there and she’s always good there in the Cup car too or decent anyways.