Danica Patrick is making her final appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series in February at the Daytona 500, and her final race will come with Premium Motorsports.
It isn’t exactly the ride she wanted for her final race, but despite her historic accomplishments breaking down barriers as a female driver in NASCAR, she hasn’t exactly produced high level results in the Cup Series.
Patrick has seven top-10s in her five full seasons, and she didn’t record a win. Kevin Harvick was asked about Patrick’s final race and whether she has received too much promotion during her career, and his response isn’t far from what fans have been thinking about her career.
“Look, Danica survived off publicity, that’s how she got here,” Harvick told JohnWallStreet. “She was very popular and had the opportunity to come to NASCAR with sponsorships and made a lot of money; but, in the end, performance trumps the marketing tool. I think you now see that with the quality and the team she’s going to come back and run the Daytona 500 with.
“The opportunities are a lot less than what she had. I don’t think she gets too much publicity, she’s done things inside of a race car that no female has ever done; but when you are in sports, you must perform. Black, white, girl, boy, it doesn’t matter, at some point that performance is going to matter; in the end, I think that’s the road it went down with Danica.”
Patrick has certainly accomplished historical feats in her racing career, but she struggled to find a full-time ride because she wasn’t competing for a playoff berth.
Harvick’s words might come across as harsh — especially considering he and Patrick were teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing — but nothing he said was wrong or out of line.
Patrick might find more success in the Indy 500 in May, and she had plenty of success during her IndyCar career. But the NASCAR portion of her career didn’t pan out the way she likely anticipated.