Danica Patrick's weak 2012 performance shows jump to full-time Cup ride in 2013 is rushed
Observation 3: Danica is not ready for Cup racing. I heard a commentator say today that, "She's got the speed. She just needs to work on the racing". Um, that's pretty telling. It's true that she can be a very fast driver (the pole position and decent qualifying efforts prove that), but in race conditions she often gets herself into very bad situations and doesn't know how to properly react.
Amid all this, there is talk she wants to run the Indy 500 next year, in addition to the full Cup season and a partial Nationwide season. Partial Nationwide is a good move if she can make it happen; but the Indy 500 would just be a distraction, and only lengthen her learning curve in stock cars. I wouldn't recommend it, despite the draw of wanting to win at the Brickyard.
“I have just transitioned through quite a bit over these years. It was just coming every month or so into the car and doing a race and trying to get comfortable quickly after driving and IndyCar for a while. There was that transition for two years then this being the first full time year then sort of sprinkling in some Cup races then next year going full time Cup. That is a lot of transitions and a lot of changes and a lot of things to get used to whether it is new cars, new schedules or new crew chief. It’s just been a lot to get used to, but I think that it all helps me adapt quicker. It helps me focus on what being more specific with my words and being more poignant with what I want. There has been a lot that I have learned for sure and I have a lot left to learn. Just understanding the cars and how they change from practice to the race and how they change throughout the race. Those are things that are just so much more unique to NASCAR than they are to IndyCar I feel. In IndyCar you could set the car up in practice and it would feel the same in qualifying and the race for the most part of adapting some weather changes to the downforce levels to that they were equal. You could calculate that. There is a lot more transitions within the weekend itself in NASCAR. So getting used to that has been something I am still learning.”
I know Cup is where the money is at, and Danica is certainly good at making money, but it's safe to say that the rush to get her to Cup is going to make the Stewart-Haas Racing team look a little silly next year.