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."