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Danica looking to Race at
the 24 Hours of Dayton
On the first day of a massive three-day Rolex 24 At
Daytona test session, Rusty Wallace, the 1989
NASCAR champion, continued to learn the ins and
outs of the Daytona Prototype while Indy Racing
League star Danica Patrick took her first laps in
the sleek and stylish sports car.
Wallace, who retired from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Series competition after the 2005 season, is going
to make the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29 his
final competitive race. He is expecting to team up
with sports car veterans Allan McNish and Boris
Said and Patrick.
"We're going to get (Danica) in the car and get
her some time and see if she likes driving the
car," Wallace said. "It's up to her if she wants to
be the fourth driver to sign on. She's got the
invitation. There's no doubt about that. We feel
like we're going to have a good winning team."
"It's always flattering when you can run with
drivers like Rusty, Allan and Boris," Patrick said.
"Provided I go out there and run fast and
everything . . . I don't want to drag the team
down. So let's make sure it goes alright. If it
goes the way it normally does, it should be just
Wallace, who tested the No. 2 Howard-Boss
Motorsports Pontiac Crawford at DIS in late
December, says he's getting a better feel of the
Daytona Prototype. He obtained advice from two-time
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion and regular Rolex
24 competitor Tony Stewart, who will drive the No.
4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with
Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger.
"I left the test two weeks ago struggling with
my downshift and entries into the corners," Wallace
said. "I called Tony Stewart at home and got him
out of a poker game. He was saying, 'when those
cars do this, you need to do this or you need to do
"I've never run a race like this. I've told
everybody I'm retired fulltime. I've been 25 years
in NASCAR racing and 33 years racing total. But I
told everybody that one race I always wanted to run
was the 24 Hours of Daytona. It's a race that likes
of the Andrettis, the Foyts, the late Dale Sr. ran.
It's just a race that I would like to run.
Patrick is turning her first laps at DIS during
this week's test and is looking forward to making
her first Rolex 24 start on the legendary 3.56-mile
"Any kind of track that people come back to time
and time again means it's pretty good," Patrick
said. "I have to imagine it's going to be a lot of
fun going racing on the road course and the oval at
the same time. Just the prestige of this race is
enough. I'm looking forward to it."
Patrick is surprised that Wallace is coming out
of retirement to run the Rolex 24, a grueling and
"I'd be really tired," Patrick quipped. "I asked
him, 'aren't you tired?' Because I'm thinking about
my schedule in racing compared to theirs and that's
the biggest thing for me. I'm just not sure I have
the energy and I'm 23. It's ridiculous. He's had an
amazing career and didn't end on a low note by any
means. He did a great job. I'm honored to sit up
here with him."
Rolex 24 testing continues on Friday and
Saturday and is free and open to the public with
access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby
of Daytona USA.
Danica Patrick Receives Two
Roscoe native Danica Patrick added two more honors
this week to her impressive rookie season in the
Indy Racing League.
Patrick was named Female Athlete of the Year in
Tuesdays USA TODAY. She finished ahead of
tennis player Kim Clijsters and golfer Annika
Today, Patrick finished second to Sorenstam in
the Associated Presss Female Athlete of the
Year poll. Sorenstam received 47 of 81 votes while
Patrick collected 17.
Danica and the Weight
NASCAR weighs drivers
Ameet from Austin, Texas: There has been
a lot of controversy about the weight of a driver
and the speed of the car. IRL measures the weight
of the car not including the driver. What does
NASCAR do to make sure there is not an unfair
advantage with regard to the weight of the
Larry McReynolds: NASCAR weighs the cars
without the driver, but the drivers weight is
figured into the equation. NASCAR put a system in
place about nine or 10 years ago when some in the
garage area thought heavier drivers were being
handicapped. Owners may not have looked at drivers
who weighed 210 or 220 pounds when you consider
drivers like Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, John
Andretti and Ward Burton only weighed 150 to 170
pounds. That's a big difference.
NASCAR bases its scale on 10-pound increments.
If your driver weighs 200 pounds or more, your car
has to weigh 3400 pounds. If your driver weighs 190
to 199 pounds, your car has to weigh 3410 pounds.
If your driver weighs 180 to 189 pounds, your car
has to weigh 3420 pounds. It keeps working down to
drivers that are 159 pounds or lighter. Those cars
must weigh 3450 pounds. NASCAR weighs the cars
before qualifying, after qualifying, before the
race and after the race. You don't have to have the
driver in the car because they weigh them twice a
year once at Daytona in February and again
at Daytona in July. Nobody has any complaints about
I don't know that much about IRL cars, but as
little as they weigh, a driver who weighs 100
pounds vs. a driver who weighs 200 pounds would
make a difference. Is that the reason Danica
Patrick ran fourth in the Indianpolis 500? No. She
had a car that drove well. She was fast all month,
and she needs to be highly commended. Whether
you're a man or a woman, you've got to be very fit
and have a lot of stamina. With what Patrick
accomplished at Indy, she fits those criteria.
It's very sad that the success she had on Sunday
is being overshadowed by comments about her weight.
She did a phenomenal job, and she's only 23 years
old. It's not like she's had a ton of IRL starts,
and for her to overcome stalling in the pits,
wrecking on the track and replacing the nose to
finish fourth and come close to winning that thing,
that's phenomenal. Let's leave any negative talk
out of it.
"Larry McReynolds: The Big Picture" is on
bookstore shelves now, or you may order your own
autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.
Patrick has fire and desire
to compete in any car
Laurie from Lombard, Ill.: Did you happen to
see Danica Patrick at Indy? Do you think she has
what it takes to be a contender in NASCAR if she
decides to make that move in the future?
Darrell Waltrip: I watched the entire
race, and it was the best Indy 500 I've seen in
years. Danica Patrick proved that you can have a
Tiger Woods, and he'll elevate golf. You can have a
Smarty Jones, and he can elevate the Triple Crown
or the Kentucky Derby. When you have a bonifide
contender that's involved in a major sporting event
it could even be Dale Earnhardt Jr. at
Daytona that's going to be good for your
No one else has been able to do what she did for
the Indy Racing League in many years so I'm a big
fan. I've never met her, but I do know her car
owner Bobby "Ray Hall". Before I met him, that's
what I thought his name was. I thought he was a
good ol' Southern boy, and his name was Bobby Ray
Hall. Bobby Rahal has an incredible eye for talent
Since Indy, people have asked if she could make
it in NASCAR, and my only concern would be her
small build at 5' 4", 105 pounds. Stock cars are
very difficult to drive. It takes a lot of mental
and physical toughness to be able to deal with a
3400-pound car on these high-banked racetracks so
it would take some getting used to for her to be
able to do it. But she proved at Indy that she's
got the fire and desire. When you throw a
competitive person into any situation, they are
Based on what I saw in Japan and in the Indy
500, I'd never bet against her. I like her
attitude, and I love her competitiveness. She has
already done great things for her sport, and when
you do great things for your sport, you definitely
deserve the credit. I really respect what she was
able to do at Indy.
Dania Patrick (23) marries her physical therapist
Paul Hospenthal, 40, in Scottsdale, Arizona,
November 19, 2005 in a ceremony attended by family
and friends including Indy car owner and racing
great Bobby Rahal.
Danica gets into it with
driver after wreck
Danica Patrick showed this year that she can race
with the boys. Sunday, she may have proved she can
fight with the boys, too.
with great rookie season
Danica Patrick's rookie season ended with a crash
instead of the victory that she had hoped for.
Get the DVD of the 2005
Buy 1-hour special about Danica available for
2-hour 2005 Indy 500 Awards ceremony for $15
4-hour (lower resolution) 2005 Indy 500 on DVD+R
for just $25. or all 3 for $40 (Includes shipping
and handling.) Just E-mail
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