If Danica Patrick switches gears from open-wheel racing to NASCAR, she could provide a much-needed boost to the recession-scarred circuit, experts tell Advertising Age. “Every TV rating for every race will increase” if Patrick makes the shift, says a sports marketing exec. Track attendance would rise, and women’s interest in the sport would “skyrocket,” he says. Not to mention $50 million in new sponsorship funding.
Patrick was the first woman to win an IndyCar race and has savvily built up her brand. “She is a star. Danica's star power would be great for the sport,” notes another expert. Her Indy Racing contract expires this year, and she has seemed open to a switch. As a leading driver, she says, “you want to jump from one top to another top.”