While several other drivers were conducting tire tests, you know who was off doing the PR thing in Anaheim to "christen" the Honda Center. I guess the term "christen" has been watered down to mean just about anything.
At any rate, Danica! made a grand entrance by doing doughnuts in the parking lot in perhaps her final ride in the Rahal Letterman Racing #16 car.
“It’s such an honor to be asked to help open Honda Center,” Patrick said. “Anaheim Arena Management has a great partner in Honda, as we’ve learned from their association with the IndyCar Series. If you want me back for more doughnuts, I’m fine with that.”I know everyone has a different opinion of Danica!’s abilities, and as such related discussions are always fun. I try to categorize my opinions of her exploits as either The Celebrity or The Driver, not letting my view of one affect the other. I don’t think less (or more) of her as a driver just because she’s in every other commercial on raceday. However, there is one thing I’m noticing in the first month of the off-season that is making me simultaneously consider both sides of Mrs. Hospenthal.
What was heard repeatedly (and mocked repeatedly) at the press conference announcing her deal with Andretti Green Racing was that “she really, really wants to win”. OK, that’s fine. I neither doubt that nor think that makes her particularly special. But there has been testing in Daytona and Indy and there will be testing at Iowa Speedway, and there is no mention whatsoever of Danica!’s participation in any session.
Now, I'm sure a lot of this has to do with contracts. It's my understanding she's got a few more days as an RLR employee, and they probably don't want her on a track when they can have a guy like Jeff Simmons simultaneously test and audition. But the old axiom of “practice makes perfect” applies to drivers as well, and it would stand to reason that Mrs. “Really, Really Wants To Win” would be spending her fall and winter chewing up practice laps in her new Batmobile or a shifter kart or whatever four-wheeled vehicle she can find.
And yet, all I read lately of Danica! involves her doing interviews or PR events, which may be necessary but they do nothing towards the goal of helping her actually win a race.
Compare her to Uncle Sam, who is trying to log all the miles he can on road courses to make up for his few deficiencies even if it means driving ARCA cars. Sam doesn’t need to tell anyone because his actions let us know he really, really, REALLY wants to win. And he’s already proven to be capable of winning.
There are still several months of testing ahead, but I would think soon enough someone from AGR or Motorola would ask her if she would like to take a moment from pushing product and refine her driving skills before March. Otherwise she’s guaranteeing herself to be a bad investment, and will no doubt lose value as both a spokesperson and a driver.
Which means Danica! won't be doing any doughnuts in 2007.