Waltrip: Stay away from NASCAR, Danica

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 was in the books all but five minutes before speculation began about the future of Danica Patrick.

The Roscoe, Ill., native finished third -- the highest finish at Indy by a woman -- for Andretti-Green Racing but rumours that she's on her way to stock car racing in NASCAR have sprouted like dandelions on Toronto lawns this spring.

Patrick's contract with AGR runs out at the end of this season and feelers already are going out from her camp and coming in to her camp about moving to North America's most dominant auto racing series.

Not everybody, however, thinks it would be good idea.

Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip told The Sporting News this week that his advice for Patrick would be: Stay away.

"I would say to her: 'I wouldn't try it if I were you,' " Waltrip said. "These stock cars are pretty brutal, they're hot, they're hard to handle. She's used to sitting out there in all that fresh air. Now you've got to sit behind an 850-horsepower monster. I'd say the monster would win."

Coincidentally, the hottest rumour to date has Patrick taking over the No. 55 Sprint Cup NAPA Auto Parts Toyota from Waltrip's brother Michael.

She said yesterday that she would be foolish not to listen to whatever offers come her way, but for now her focus is on winning a title in IndyCars.

"We have three top-five finishes this year," she said. "And with this (third yesterday) we are in a position to challenge for a championship."

Harsh ending for Kanaan

Tony Kanaan's string of leading seven consecutive Indy 500s ended yesterday when he crashed hard on the back stretch on Lap 99.

"I'm really beat up," he said. "That was the hardest hit I've ever had. I was going about 190 m.p.h. when I hit the wall straight on."

It's also the second consecutive year Kanaan has crashed hard at Indy.

No back to back

If you throw out the Helio Castroneves win in 2002 on the controversial call to take the trophy away from Paul Tracy, there hasn't been a repeat win in 38 years at Indy since Al Unser Sr. recorded his second consecutive victory in 1971.

Last year's winner Scott Dixon raced among the top three for the first two-thirds of the race but faded to finish sixth for Ganassi Racing.


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