Monday, July 30, 2012

So, Who Is The Best Female Driver In NASCAR Nationwide?

Mary Louise Miller and Johanna Long team up for 2012-2013.
Mary Louise Miller, Owner, with Johanna Long

Danica Patrick
Currently, there are two female drivers in the Nationwide NASCAR  circuit: Danica Patrick and Johanna Long.
Long is a 20 year old rookie that drives the number 70 car in Nationwide and has driven n 13 races this season.  Her car is owned by ML Motorsports, a team that fields only 1 car- Longs car.  The 70 car is an underfunded team with minimal sponsorships.  The team is owned by 87 year old Mary Louise Miller:
Long is ranked 26 in driver points.
The other driver, is of course, Danica Patrick, who is a former Indy car driver and now drives in the Nationwide full time and 10 Sprint Cup races.  Patrick has the best equipment and sponsor (Go Daddy) She has a more experienced crew and crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. Her car is owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr..  Currently, she is ranked 10th in points in Nationwide.  JR Motorsports has 3 cars in their stable, 2 of which run full time.
So, who is the better driver between Long and Patrick?
Danica gets an average of 23 points per race while Long, in her 13 appearances gets an average of 21 points per race.
In head to head competition, Long has won 5 times while Patrick defeated Long 8 times.
Per ESPN, the yellow flag has flown 10 times for incidents involving Danica.
Danica's lowest finish is 38th place at the first Daytona race and 35 at Indy and her highest finish is 8 at Texas.  For Long, her lowest  was 37 at Talladega and 30 at Indy.  Her highest finish was 12 at the Summer Daytona race and 16 at Michigan.
In head to head competition, Danica barely beats Long with a difference of only 13 total points.
So, who is the better driver?
Clearly, Patrick has the superior car, sponsor, crew, resources and experience.  Long has no advantage on Patrick.
I think if Long had half of the advantages over Patrick, I don't think it would be close- Long is the better driver.
If Long ran a full schedule and had a reliable sponsor, it would be no contest- Long would be doing better than Patrick.
On the other hand, Patrick is facing more pressure than Long.  It was anticipated that Patrick would run up with the leaders of Nationwide and for the most part, she has not done that, with only 1 top ten finish.  However, she is 10th in driver points but is ahead of only about 4 drivers that are not start and parkers and have run in all 19 races.
Patrick is also probably distracted by all of her appearances she makes o be
 So, if I was starting a team, had the sponsors and decent car and crew, I would take Johanna Long over Danica Patrick because she seems like she has a good head on shoulders and her different body parts are not involved in advertising.
With all things being equal, Johanna Long would get my vote as the better driver.

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