Take A Chance

A lot of "NASCAR Nation" seems to get worked up about things seemingly before they ever happen.

There are a couple of great examples from this week's news.

First up of course is Danica Patrick, who finally revealed what the world had known for some time on Tuesday with her announcement of a Nationwide program beginning in 2010.

Patrick is obviously a lightning rod and someone who has generated strong feelings one way or another in many fans since she first came onto the racing scene in Indy Car racing.

Now she's decided to take a stab at a stock car career with a limited Nationwide schedule for JR Motorsports next year to go along with her full IRL plate for Michael Andretti's team.

But you can be sure she won't be welcomed by open arms by much of the NASCAR fan base.

There are a great many people who don't want Patrick to come to stock car country, want her to fail miserably and wish that she would not darken the NASCAR doorstep.

And to them I ask why?

The way I see it nothing but good comes out of Patrick's foray into the NASCAR world and that includes the Indy Car Series as well.

Patrick has already generated more attention and exposure for an ARCA test than possibly could be imagined. When she runs next February's ARCA 200 at Daytona the spotlight will be put directly on the world of auto racing - that day before the biggest sporting event on the planet takes place with Sunday's Super Bowl.

Television ratings will be up for most every race she runs and in addition to the added exposure, ticket sales will more thank likely also be on the rise.

And when she does go back to the IRL portion of the season, I have a hunch more than a few will follow her endeavors over there after her NASCAR experience, which will also benefit that series which like NASCAR can use any shot of publicity these days.

So how is this a bad thing in any way?

If Patrick washes out of stock car racing or decides that running with a roof over her head isn't her cup of tea, then so be it. She'll return to the IRL and more than likely follow her dream of trying to win the Indy 500 and a series championship.

No need to get all worked up everyone.

There's also some angst going on over the announcement of a new television show that will debut on Showtime next season called "Inside NASCAR." It will be produced by the award-winning NASCAR Media Group and most likely patterned after the successful "Inside the NFL" program that aired on HBO for years before migrating over to Showtime this year.

Well apparently some fans are up in arms over the fact the new offering will be on a premium pay cable channel rather than another network, citing the cost of subscribing to Showtime as an issue.

While I'm very sympathetic to those in financial need and these economic times, I don't understand the criticism.

NASCAR is obviously trying to reach out and cultivate another audience with the decision to create programming for a premium service channel like Showtime. Those who subscribe or might decide to because of the new show will I believe find a solid piece of programming.

But that direction doesn't mean NASCAR has forgotten any fan or is not interested in television programming on other outlets, whether they be over-the-air like ABC or FOX or basic cable such as ESPN or SPEED.

There's hours of programming on those kinds of outlets as well and will continue to be in 2010. But in order to grow the sport's exposure and fan base, NASCAR - like every other professional sports league - needs to find new audiences as well, which perhaps the Showtime endeavor will fulfill.

But before a single episode of the show has aired, we find some in an uproar.

Come on everyone, let's just give things a chance.



Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2009

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