Rebel Yell: Former cheerleader Danica Patrick becoming quite the good luck charm for Ole Miss football team

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Sometimes life indeed comes full circle.

Danica Patrick has done quite a bit in her 32 years of life, starting as a high school cheerleader back in Roscoe, Illinois.

From there, she moved on to IndyCar driver, GoDaddy.com icon and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver.

Now it appears Patrick is back to channeling her high school cheering roots – and in the process has become a bonafide good luck charm in the sports world, particularly for the Ole Miss Rebels football team.

For the second time this season, Patrick attended a Rebels game, standing on the Ole Miss sidelines with boyfriend and fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during Saturday’s big game against arch rival Mississippi State.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze wasn’t leaving anything to chance. Not only did he invite Patrick and Stenhouse, a huge Ole Miss fan, back for an encore performance to cheer his team on, he even gave Stenhouse the honor to lead the Rebels onto the field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

http://instagram.com/p/v_7iUhQfXk/

Patrick even dressed up for the part, sporting Ole Miss face paint. End result No. 13 Ole Miss captured the Egg Bowl, upsetting the No. 10 visiting Bulldogs 31-17.

To add insult to injury for the losing Bulldogs, two Mississippi State buses were involved in a minor accident on the way back home after the game, when the trailing bus ran into the rear of the lead bus.

There were no injuries, although the driver of the second bus was shaken up, according to a report in USA Today.

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MSU bus. Thank goodness everyone was ok.

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Patrick and Stenhouse also attended Ole Miss’ season opener against Boise State in late August as Freeze’s guests. Same end result: Ole Miss romped to a 35-13 win.

Back in June at a charity golf tournament that they took part in, Freeze told the Oxford (Miss.) Citizen, “Ricky (Stenhouse) is an Ole Miss guy. We’re going to transform Danica into being an Ole Miss fan as well.”

The Rebels obviously have done that, indeed.

On April 30, 2013, Patrick attended a Chicago Blackhawks game and took part in a between-period “Shoot The Puck” goal shooting contest, nailing her first shot right into the net.

She ultimately missed her next three attempts, but still ultimately wound up being a good luck charm for the Hawks as they won their playoff series opener with the Minnesota Wild that night 2-1 in overtime en route to their second Stanley Cup championship in four seasons.

Danica Patrick, good luck charm. Who knew?

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Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.