In this week’s NASCAR random thoughts we revisit some of the biggest news of the week, including Danica Patrick’s big sponsor announcement, the mysterious decision by ThorSport Racing to dump its manufacturer, and Dale Jr.’s rising profile.
GoDaddy to sponsor Danica Patrick
This is great news for NASCAR and IndyCar. With Danica Patrick in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, that should mean a television ratings boon for both races. But there is still a huge unanswered question — what ride will she get? True, she has the money behind her, but all the top rides (on the Daytona side anyway) are taken. She said she wants a car that allows her to ride up at the front of the pack, but that seems unlikely given this late date. She says she’ll have an announcement shortly, so we’re in wait and see mode. I just hope she ends up with a ride that allows her to be respectable, and not go out on a very bad note.
NASCAR team dumps Toyota
So this came out of nowhere. Toyota has been dominant on the track, but that didn’t matter to ThorSport Racing. The Camping World Truck series team mysteriously parted ways with Toyota this week and announced it would soon announce a new manufacturer — just weeks before Daytona. With Toyota, ThorSport won two championships, 19 wins, 117 top fives and 227 top-10 finishes and 10 poles — and they walked away. There’s no word (yet) on what happened, but this has certainly turned into the early mystery of the 2018 season.
NBC quickly raises Dale Earnhardt Jr’s profile
This is a brilliant move. We all know how popular Dale Jr. is to NASCAR fans, but NBC — rightfully — has quickly figured out he’s got tremendous crossover potential. So in addition to his racing responsibilities, he’s going to be featured on the Super Bowl pre-game show, as well as select Winter Olympic broadcasts that include speed skating and bobsleds. And there’s another benefit — some NASCAR fans might tune in just to hear Junior talk about a sport they otherwise would have no interest in. Still, the message here is undeniable — get ready to see a lot of Dale Jr. on NBC.
- Dale Jr. wants to ride a bobsled. He clearly still has a need for speed
- And, speaking of Dale Jr., he went out of his way to help motorists having trouble in the snow. First-class guy all the way
- Kasey Kahne seems really happy he’s gone from Hendrick. Wonder if that happiness continues if his car at Levine doesn’t perform?
- Dave Mader III going more than 183 MPH on the track at age 62 is the story of the week. Damn that’s fast for a man that age
- Danica Patrick says she’s dating Aaron Rodgers. Now we can go back to living our lives.
- A brand new cup series team, Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises, will enter the number 92 Ford at Daytona with David Gilliland, father of Todd, behind the wheel. Always good to see new efforts.
- Old Bridge Township Raceway Park announced it was stopping all drag racing, effective immediately, to reportedly make way for a storage facility. I get it, business, but, this stabs racing fans in the heart.
- Coca-Cola re-ups with NASCAR as a sponsor. Now, they need to get Monster back in the fold.