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Chris McKendry: Danica Is Good For NASCAR

Chris McKendry

Danica Patrick is not only the face of IndyCar, but alongside Dale Earnhardt Junior, she's the current face of NASCAR 2010, too. She has one ARCA race and two official Nationwide Series practices under her belt and yet has generated more buzz than Jimmie Johnson has in arriving as the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion and crashing yesterday in practice.

Nothing personal against Johnson, he's a fantastic driver and the captain of a dynasty. And he's a little boring. Dale Earnhardt Junior is voted the most popular driver year in and year out and yet who can remember the last time he was competitive? His appearance on the front row of Sunday's Daytona 500 comes with a sigh of relief. What Danica Patrick brings to the sport is eyeballs. She attracts those who care little about racing but are curious about a woman's ability to compete in it. It also helps that she's pretty, young and seems as though she could easily be an X-Gamer. She's cool. Of course, nothing is cooler than winning. So when the green flag flies this Saturday in Daytona, we'll learn just how serious her flirtation with NASCAR truly is.