A yardstick for Danica? That sounds like a good swap!

Posted by Declan | 2/02/2010 | 1 comments »
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So it's almost upon us. For most of you, its the most anticipated ARCA race in history. To be honest, nothing will top last October's season finale at Rockingham which featured the most brazen piece of effective race fixing I have ever witnessed. But that is another story. Back to this weekend and Danica's debut (don't forget Nelson Piquet Jr and Ricky Carmichael too).

There is little or no doubt that the arguments will rage as to how good, bad, indifferent, epoch-creating, space time continuum shattering it will be, so I thought I would give the whole exercise a little perspective to help everyone out. And let's not forget too that there is a more than decent chance that she may not get to the finish through no fault of her own. The 2009 race (below) was a perfect example of that.

This particular path has been well worn by open wheel drivers seeking a new direction in their sporting lives. An ARCA start on a super speedway serves two purposes. The first is the very obvious track time and race experience it offers but is also fulfills NASCAR's licensing requirements allowing them to start a Truck, Nationwide or Sprint Cup sanctioned race at Talladega or Daytona.

So who has come before Danica and more importantly how did they perform? Hopefully this data can provide us with an International Standard Performance Co-efficient which will keep all debates short and halt all arguments in their tracks. Or, it will just muddy the waters even further, who the feck knows?

Juan Pablo Montoya:

ARCA Debut - Talladega Superspeedway, October 6, 2006

Qualified P2
Finished P3

He qualified second, led the first nine laps, and finished third when the race was called after 79 of 92 laps. You know the rest.

Scott Speed:

ARCA Debut - Talladega Superspeedway, October 5, 2007

Qualified P7
Finished P7

Did not lead a lap. He ran very well all day and his highest position was 3rd. He went on to complete a full season of ARCA in 2008 finishing 5th in the standings with 4 wins and 3 pole positions.

Dario Franchitti:

ARCA Debut - Talladega Superspeedway, October 5, 2007

Qualified P6
Finished P17

He made his debut in the same race as Scott Speed. He raced solidly bit found the pit road procedures a 'bit of a struggle' and it cost him valuable track position during yellow flags. His team ran out of cash in 2008 and again, you all know the rest.

Michael McDowell:

McDowell was a very promising Champ Car World Series rookie in 2005 as a twenty year old. He ran two races for Paul Gentillozi's Rocket Sports outfit and finished in the top 12 in both. The money simply ran out and like many before him, he turned to stock cars.

ARCA Debut - Milwaukee Mile, August, 2006

Qualified P15
Finished P34 (Crash on lap 120/200)

After an exit on lap 6 in Chicago, he finished the last three races of the season with sixth, fifth and fourth. He was runner up for the series title in 2007 to the great Frank Kimmell. To put that in perspective, Kimmell is such a legend in the sport that he was invited to compete in the 2006 IROC Series!

Parker Kligerman:

Who? I thought you'd say that. 19 year old Parker broke all of Colin Braun and Marco Andretti's track records in the Formula TR 2000 Series on the west coast. His dreams of moving to the hotbed of single seater racing in Europe were dashed by a severe lack of finance and yet another very young and very talented open wheeler was lost to stock cars. Parker was picked up by Roger Penske and is now part of his stock car driver devlopment program. He narrowly missed out on the ARCA title in 2009.

ARCA Oval Debut - Toeldo (.5 mile), October, 2008

Qualified P16
Finished P9

Parker was cruelly robbed of the 2009 ARCA title by some astonishing gerrymandering by his main rival, but that did not prevent Roger Penske signing him up to a program of Nationwide races in 2010. Parker stunned the Nationwide series in a one-off drive Kansas last season when he put his Penske Dodge on pole alongside Kyle Busch. He is a name we will all be hearing a lot more of and he has stated that he would very much like to compete in the Indy 500.

So there you have it! I'm none the wiser either but based on the quality of her team and equipment, she should be looking to qualify in the top 15 and a similar finishing position would be a good solid start. A little bit of good luck would not go amiss either. Check out Montoya's debut in 2006 (above) for a prime example.


  1. Joseph D'Antoni // February 03, 2010 8:45 AM  

    Could you link to something that details the ARCA finale at Rockingham?

    I didn't realize there was so much controversy.