Danica Patrick put her prognosticating skills to work on Friday, and to absolutely no one’s surprise, she picked her NASCAR Sprint Cup boss Tony Stewart to win this year’s Chase for the Championship.
This, even though her Nationwide Series boss Dale Earnhardt Jr., is also a contender for the title.
“Well, I guess since I’ll be driving for Stewart-Haas next year, I guess it would mean I would probably be cheering for Tony a little bit more since that will be my full-time team next year, if I had to pick one,” she said, before adding, “That’s a really unfair question.”
Patrick, however, did say that the 12-man Chase is all about momentum and that any one of the drivers can get hot over the 10-race schedule.
“I think when the Chase comes around it’s about momentum and who is coming into it with momentum,” she said. “Then again, you look at what Tony did last year.
“I can remember watching the interviews and the few races leading up to the end of the regular season and into the Chase, and he was getting put on the spot every weekend about making it in. Then he came in and just kicked ass.”
Patrick said that the Chase, unlike the format used in the IndyCar Series, creates excitement for fans as well as for the drivers who are in it.
“That’s what makes it exciting; that’s what creates good story lines for these last 10 races of the season and obviously the ones before it leading up to it,” she said. “So, it’s a good marketing thing and good for PR what NASCAR has created.”
Patrick said that the level of competition is very tough among the Chase drivers, with no weak links.
“I think it’s going to be a tough championship,” she said. “You can never count guys like Tony out for sure. You’ve got Jimmie (Johnson) and Denny’s (Hamlin) has been on a roll and I think Dale Jr. has got a good shot. It’s going to be interesting to watch. I’m looking forward to it.”