Danica-mania has struck at Daytona International Speedway after Danica Patrick became the first woman to win the pole for a race in NASCAR’s top circuit.
The media has swarmed around Patrick since Thursday’s media day in the lead-up to the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Talk has shifted from her new romantic relationship with fellow Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to her first pole in NASCAR.
With her fast lap times in practice, Wednesday’s Sprint Cup activities could jokingly be called Danica-mania instead of Speedweeks. As for the star? Danica claims she’ll enjoy every minute of it. KSDK reports that Patrick stated:
“I love it when people put me on the radar, I do. When people put you on the radar, that feels good to me.”
While Danica’s achievement on Sunday wasn’t a surprise, given her fast times in practice, team co-owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart praised the former IndyCar driver. Stewart stated:
“That’s a huge accomplishment … She’s made history in the sport. That’s stuff that we’re proud of being a part of with her. It’s something she should have a huge amount of pride in.”
ESPN notes that Danica Patrick is scheduled for a new round of national shows on Tuesday, including the station’s Pardon the Interruption. Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief marketing officer, also noted a massive flood of media requests.
Given the media requests that the attention focused on Patrick, it’s likely that NASCAR plans to capitalize on Danica-mania. Phelps commented:
“Just the sheer volume of media requests we’ve received … it’s staggering to see the breadth of requests, from sports, non-sports, national media, smaller media. It’s pervasive and that obviously bodes well for pre-promotion of our racing.”
What do you think of Danica-mania? Who are you rooting for during next Sunday’s Daytona 500?