By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
Danica Patrick is one of the few drivers in NASCAR (and auto racing in general) who transcends the sport. Whether you are a sports enthusiast or not you know her name. So when she wrecks on the track it’s a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal when she confronts another driver off the track.
The wreck, like any wreck on a racetrack, is something to see. In this case it runs second fiddle to what happened afterwords when Patrick confronted Denny Hamlin. While not something NASCAR probably wants to see, it’s probably the best unpaid promotion they could have received before the biggest race of the year.
The Daytona 500 is the biggest event of the year for NASCAR. While talk of NASCAR’s demise has leveled off in the past few years, it’s still not in the massive growth phase that it was in the mid 2000’s. In a strange way, an incident like the one we saw Thursday can only help the sport. Probably more so than whoever wins the race.
Patrick will have her supporters and her critics. You cannot deny that she brings interest to NASCAR and the sport of auto racing in general. If she has a confrontation at the track with another drive it is always going to be newsworthy. You have to imagine that the NASCAR brass is secretly giving each other high-fives.