I wrote my most recent column from Daytona on Danica Patrick, who is beginning her sophomore NASCAR season in the second-tier Nationwide Series. She starts fourth in the Nationwide race Saturday -- she isn't racing in the Daytona 500 and has yet to race in one of the top-tier Cup events.
After listening to a couple of Danica's Daytona interviews over the past few days, I've come to the conclusion she's a relatively nice person who really wants to be liked but who is not at all sure of her capabilities in a stock car as of yet.
That's for good reason -- in her 12 races last year, she never finished better than 19th. Her average finish was 28.7. If she was your average white male race-car driver, those sorts of results wouldn't merit a paragraph in most auto-racing stories.
But that's not what she is. She's a pretty woman and a potential breakout star -- but she has to produce some results now, or she will simply end up as NASCAR's equivalent of tennis pinup Anna Kournikova.