As Danica Patrick continues to be a back-packer on most weekend grinds on the NASCAR circuit, the chance of a complete makeover looms more and more as a possibility.
Is Formula One in her future?
There is a logical window of opportunity. Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and one of Patrick's bosses, needs to fill two seats for his F-1 startup team within the next two seasons. He was asked last week if Patrick could be in the mix of drivers.
"She would," Haas said. "She would bring an awful lot of viewership. It would be great for America. She would be a great candidate.
"Whether that's going to happen, that's kind of a long shot."
At 32, Patrick isn't making any great strides in her second full-time season on the NASCAR Cup circuit. She was 27th in points last season and ranks 28th in 2014. She finished two laps down in 37th place at Pocono last weekend, after cutting a left-front tire on Lap 138 of the 160-lap race and then hitting the wall in Turn 3.
A shift to F-1 would mean Patrick is waving a white flag when it comes to stock-car racing, but it also could be a more practical move because her forte is open-wheel racing.
Haas plans to field one car in 2015 before adding a second the next season to give Stewart-Haas Racing a better chance at adjusting to F-1.
Junior on a roll: Oh, what a year for Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's Favorite Son. He has been to Victory Lane twice this season after winning for the first time in his career at Pocono. This is the first time since his six-win 2004 season that Earnhardt has scored more than two victories.
"They just come off of two straight wins, and everybody was about to crown him the champion," Earnhardt said. "You know, two weeks before they were wondering what the hell was wrong with him, and then two weeks later he's the best thing on the block. We just got to keep everything in perspective. Jimmie is an awesome teammate. We're successful because of their success and vice versa. We really work well together.
"They're the 48 and we're the 88, and I don't want to be the new 48. I want to be the new 88. We'll definitely try to continue to work hard and try to win some more races and try to leave our own mark."
Longtime owner passes: Condolences to the family of longtime car owner Junie Donlavey, who died Monday night after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease. Donlavey, 90, fielded cars from 1950 to 2002 in NASAR's top series.
"With Junie Donlavey's passing this week, NASCAR lost a treasure, a man who personified NASCAR's proud past," NASCAR officials said in a statement. "With 863 starts as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner, he won over millions of fans through his 50-plus years in our sport."