Sunday, February 17, 2013

Does Danica Patrick have a weight advantage?

   There has been growing talk this week that Danica Patrick, who is quite diminutive in size compared to other Sprint Cup Series drivers, has a weight advantage over other competitors.

   While NASCAR does take driver's weight into account in its inspection process, how it calculates that differential leaves some wiggle room for a person like Patrick.

   The current rules say a driver's weight can change the overall minimum car weight based on the following schedule:

180 lbs. – Above / 3,300 lbs.
170 lbs. – 179 lbs. / 3,310 lbs.
160 lbs. – 169 lbs. / 3,320 lbs.
150 lbs. – 159 lbs. / 3,330 lbs.
140 lbs. – 149 lbs. / 3,340 lbs.

   Notice the schedule only goes to 140 pounds. Assuming Patrick's weight is a good deal less than 140, she may not have to add as much weight to the overall minimum car weight as some others.

   So, is there an advantage? NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton said maybe.

   "It's hard to give a yes or no answer. When you are trying to race anything, there is a balance between the weight you need and whether it's a balance between left and right-side weight or overall weight. When you go to places like Daytona, it probably means very little," Pemberton said. "Where it would mean the most is probably Martinsville or New Hampshire. That's just my opinion."


  1. The reality here is that some people have decided they don't like her and then look for reasons to justify their hate.

    Grow up!

    1. No, there are intelligent fans who find it interesting that she won the Nationwide pole last year in July and was fastest in all the qual practices, AND won the pole while other cars with the same packages were a hair slower. Wind was probably the bigger factor in qualifying, but 40 less lbs can be that .033 of a second difference. After all, they qualify the car with nearly empty gas tanks, don't they?? SO apparently weight DOES matter. That said, enjoy her consistant finishes in the 25th to 35th range, what a victory for women proving that if you can use your looks to your advantage, you can get things you're not qualified to have. Thank You for this article btw.

    2. John, why should anyone like her? Her sole credential to race is her gender.

  2. It's pretty clear she has a weight advantage. I was surprised to learn that NASCAR doesn't do what we do in kids' racing: weigh the car with the driver (and all safety equipment) when coming off the track. You have to make minimum weight or you're DQ'd.

    Going this type of procedure would put an end to this kind of uncertainty.

  3. She has a DISadvantage. Being 40 lbs less than the minimum weight, she won't have that 40 lbs to put in the 3300 lb car anywhere they want. That's an advantage that most drivers of diminutive size use to balance the car better. Jeff Gordon has lived on that thru-out his career. What? You say that wasn't a factor in his winning? It won't be in Danica's, either.