Smart or Not Smart: Breaking Down Danica's Nationwide Schedule

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Danica Patrick’s 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule was released on Thursday afternoon.

The Indycar diva will race in 12 events with the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet; 10 of which will be sponsored by Godaddy.com. Pending approval, Patrick may also drive in the season-opening Daytona race.

Below you will see Patrick’s complete schedule, followed by my thoughts on it:

Feb. 20 Fontana
Feb. 27 Las Vegas
June 26 Loudon
July 9 Chicago
Aug. 14 Michigan
Sept. 25 Dover
Oct. 9 Fontana
Oct. 15 Charlotte
Oct. 23 Gateway
Nov. 6 Texas
Nov. 20 Homestead

So, is this schedule a smart one for a driver with zero experience driving a stock car, or not?

Yes and no. As you can see, all but 4 of the races(5, if you include Daytona) take place at cookie-cutter tracks, the wide-open 1.5-2 mile venues. Such tracks are easy to manipulate for any driver, so putting an inexperienced racer in the car for these events, as opposed to say, Bristol or Darlington, is a smart move.

With that said, there are some not-so-smart things about this schedule. To start out with, Patrick’s itinerary has her taking a 4-month break in between Las Vegas and Loudon to accommodate her Indycar schedule. So just as she starts getting used to the heavier machines, she’ll take two steps back and jump right back into the lighter Indycars.

What’s more is that her return to the stock cars takes place in an event at a flat track where several Cup drivers will be racing, and not at one of the stand-alone cookie-cutter events that take place 2 or 3 weeks before.

And after that, Patrick will only run one race a month until October.

If Danica Patrick was serious about wanting to convert to stock cars, you’d think she would take things a little more seriously. She can’t really expect to get good at stock car racing if she’s only going to run one race per month and take 4-month breaks.

What do you think of Danica’s schedule? Smart or not smart?

Note: Copy and pasted the schedule off of NASCAR.com, but naturally, they neglected to include the Nov. 13 Phoenix race, which would have brought the total up to 12. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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