With all of the media surrounding Stewart-Haas Racing these last few weeks, it seems like NASCAR’s “silly season” has been all about the organization and its drivers. From co-owner and driver Tony Stewart breaking his leg to the sponsor and car number announcement with new 2014 driver Kevin Harvick to the signing of Kurt Busch that took the entire racing world by surprise, SHR has been one big story after another. Somewhere among the media frenzy and press releases, there has been one integral part of SHR that seems to be overlooked by the rest, Danica Patrick. Patrick came in to the organization in 2012, driving ten races in the No.10 Chevrolet in preparation for her Rookie season in 2013. With Ryan Newman and Stewart as teammates, Patrick was never short of help and guidance. When news leaked of Harvick joining SHR in 2014, the strength of the organization grew immensely.
Then, the ball dropped. Newman was let go from SHR when they decided they weren’t ready to expand to four cars. Stewart broke his leg in a Sprint Car crash and was out indefinitely. Then suddenly, rumors arose that Gene Haas, the other half of Stewart-Haas Racing, had offered Kurt Busch a ride, thus expanding the organization to four cars.
When Busch and Haas signed a two-year agreement on Tuesday, social media exploded with tweets and posts about how great the three teams were going to be. Stewart, Harvick and Busch were going to be the power team, going nose to tail with Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Penske Racing and the rest of the field. Even a suggestion of a reality show featuring the three drivers quickly spread through the twitterverse, but something seemed to be missing from all of the media buzz. What about Danica Patrick?
Tweets from drivers, crews and fans and even articles arose about the great dynamic that SHR will have in 2014 but rarely was there a mention of Patrick. Busch sent out a tweet about his new teammates, excluding Patrick from the bunch. Even is girlfriend tweeted about the dynamic trio and their 2014 success but left out Patrick. She is still new to the Sprint Cup series but she is still factor at SHR.
Patrick’s advice and input could be of importance in a difference sense as well. What if Busch decided to run the double on Memorial Day Weekend? Patrick could give some much-needed advice to her new teammate as Busch plans on running the Indy 500 for the first time. She may not take the NASCAR world by storm in 2014 but Patrick’s input with the team is just as important as that of Stewart, Harvick and Busch.In her transition from IndyCar to NASCAR, Patrick hasn’t put up the best results but excluding her from the success that SHR could possibly have in 2014 and beyond doesn’t seem fair. Patrick may still be green (no pun intended) when it comes to experience in the Sprint Cup Series, but her input and experience at tracks such as Daytona, Talladega and even tracks like Martinsville and Bristol could be key to the other drivers success in the coming seasons.
Excluding Patrick from the congratulatory tweets and posts to Busch seemed unfair, especially coming from her new teammates. Busch later tweeted out that he was looking forward to working with all three of them next season. With “Smoke,” “Happy,” “the Outlaw” and “the Danistar” all under one roof next season, SHR is not going to be short on excitement and talent. Stewart, Harvick, Busch and yes, Patrick will all be key in the growing success of Stewart-Haas Racing in the many seasons to come.