Leave it to a woman.

Just when you thought nothing could knock stories about the Talladega "race" off the sports pages, along came Ms. Danica Patrick.

First, about that Talladega event, I have a few things to say.

Last week, I wrote that I didn't think the outcome from Talladega would have much of a bearing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup points situation, and I was right. Although it looked for a while like Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon had an opportunity to gain on points leader Jimmie Johnson, it wasn't meant to be.

While Johnson looked like he was struggling all day, it turns out he was just hanging out at the right place at the right time. It was lucky for Johnson, and very unlucky for Ryan Newman, Gordon and Martin, thanks to "the big one." The latter three were clearly angry and very glad to be out of their cars when the carnage on the track was over.

"I guess they don't think much of us anymore," Newman said sarcastically.

Gordon's response showed a dark sense of humor. "I'm kind of glad we ran out (of gas) when we did because we were at least able to get back out there and destroy our car."

For his part, Martin refused to get into an argument, merely saying, "Nothing!" when asked what he saw before his car tumbled down the track.

For days after the mess at Talladega, there's been talk among NASCAR journalists and fans about little else -- until now.
Now NASCAR fans are talking about Danica Patrick again, thanks to reports by ESPN that the petite IndyCar driver is headed to NASCAR next year on a part-time basis.


Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race, will continue to race full-time for Andretti Green Racing next year. But according to the report, Patrick plans to run part-time in ARCA and/or the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year as well. And who will Patrick drive for? Patrick's team will be JR Motorsports and her boss will be none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Yes, it seems like a deal made in marketing heaven. Earnhardt holds the title of NASCAR's most popular driver, and Patrick holds the title of IndyCar's only driver to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- something she's done twice. In addition, both Earnhardt and Patrick have sponsorships with GoDaddy.com.

"They are the two most overrated drivers in all of motorsports history, together at last," wrote a fan on an ESPN bulletin board.

"Young, talented, rich and really good looking," wrote another about Patrick. "What's not to like?"

Only time will tell how this potential partnership will work out, but it's already controversial, so it should be fun to watch.

Ellen Siska writes about NASCAR for The York Dispatch. She can be reached at esiska@yorkdispatch.com.