TORONTO - It was painful to watch as Danica Patrick crashed three times in three races during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
But it was even more painful watching her finish 21st and three laps down to race-winner Elliott Sadler at Phoenix International Raceway Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide Bashas’ Supermarkets 200.
Patrick just could not seem to get the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet up to speed. After just 60 laps in the 200-lap event the No. 7 Chevrolet was already being lapped.
But what was more worrisome from a NASCAR perspective was Patrick’s refusal to talk to the media after her sub-standard performance.
This is not a woe-is-us in the media complaint. There are lots of times when a driver, or any professional athlete feels like blowing off the media.
However, when you make your reputation in front of the cameras, it is hypocritical to stop doing interviews because one turns in a poor performance.
Patrick could find out that the monster that boosted her profile when she came over to NASCAR can just as quickly turn on her.
As one driver said to me, “If there is anything worse than having cameras in your face after a race, it is not having cameras in your face.”
'WHAT I MEANT TO SAY ...'
Talk about an oops moment.
Elliott Sadler, who was given a second chance for a racing career by Kevin Harvick last season and Richard Childress Racing this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, opened his mouth and put his foot in it after winning the Bashas Supermarket 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Sadler, who drove his way out of the Sprint Cup series, announced in the post Nationwide race media conference that he has signed a five-race deal to drive the No. 55 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing this season.
Apparently Sadler had neglected to tell Childress, who owns the No. 2 Chevrolet that Sadler is contracted to drive this season in the NNS, and who is a huge Chevrolet backer.
So immediately after announcing his MWR deal, Sadler got a message to call Mr. Childress.
The message was blunt: You are a Chevrolet driver not a Toyota driver.
So Sadler had to beat a hasty retreat on his deal with Waltrip.
NASCAR News beat reporter Reed Spencer said the turn around was so sudden that it “may have set a record of the shortest tenure in a Sprint Cup car.”
Sadler went on Sirius/NASCAR Radio first thing Monday morning to say that his Waltrip deal was dead in the water. Putting the whole affair in diplomatic language, Sadler told the radio interviewer that he and Childress had a “long heart to heart” talk about his job.
And that job was to make sure that his focus was 100% on making sure the No. 2 RCR Chevrolet won the Nationwide championship this season.
MARCELLI GETS NEW ALMS RIDE
Young Canadian sports car racer Kyle Marcelli has signed a deal that will see him behind the wheel of a new American Le Mans Series team this season.
The 22-year-old from Barrie, Ont., will drive the No. 8 LMPC Oreca FLM09s for the newly formed Merchant Services Racing.
The team is owned by Chapman Ducote and will be run by Marcelli’s boss last season at Intersport Racing, Brian Alder.
First race for the new team will be at the 12 Hours at Sebring.
“We have a tremendous amount of combined experience, between our team principals, managers, engineers and drivers,” Marcelli said. “It is not our first rodeo and we have our sights set on the top step of the podium.”