Danica Patrick Racing '18 Indianapolis 500 Should Provide Needed Exposure For IndyCar
Danica Patrick’s announcement that she will race in the '18 Indianapolis 500 is a "much-needed home run" for IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to Jim Ayello of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The '17 race "suffered its worst TV ratings in 31 years of live coverage," but Patrick’s "polarizing presence will surely have the eyes of the nation watching" next year. Few drivers -- or "athletes in any sport for that matter -- divide fans quite like Patrick." Her arrival in Indianapolis will "undoubtedly generate a massive media buzz -- much like the way Alonso-mania swept through the city" during F1 driver Fernando Alonso’s appearance last year. IMS President Doug Boles said, "People are going to come here because they want Danica to do well and people are going to come here because they don’t like the fact that Danica left us and went to NASCAR. That creates excitement." Ayello wrote while having Patrick "in the fold at all is a boon for IndyCar, a competitive Patrick would be even better," as ratings "tend to rise when Patrick runs well" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/18). USA TODAY's A.J. Perez notes Patrick's final race as a full-time driver on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series "ended like about a third of her races" did in her final season -- with an early exit. Patrick's car yesterday "rolled to a stop in flames after she blew a tire and she was run into by Kasey Kahne near the midway point" of the race (USA TODAY, 11/20).