Is Danica Patrick on track to become a real doll?

16 Comments

Move over, Barbie, or you might get the chrome horn put to ‘ya.

One of next year’s hottest Christmas gifts could potentially be a Danica Patrick doll – or at least one that the NASCAR driver will have a significant say in designing.

According to License Global! (licensemag.com), NASCAR Team Properties has begun collaboration with the Madame Alexander Doll Company to design and market a new line of NASCAR-branded dolls.

Patrick will lend her input into the line, which is slated to hit stores next fall – just in time for the Christmas rush.

“Designing NASCAR-themed dolls for girls to play with is a fun and engaging way for young girls to become even more fascinated with a sport that empowers a new generation of women and that is one of the largest spectator sports in America,” Madame Alexander president Gale Jarvis said.

“Partnering with Danica Patrick is exciting for us,” Jarvis added. “She is one of the most successful and well-known women in the history of racing and a well-known female superstar.”

While it’s unclear if there actually will be a Danica doll per se, it certainly makes sense to have the Sprint Cup star also be the star of the proposed doll lineup, as well.

Can’t you just see a potential Danica doll in a GoDaddy.com firesuit, or driving her trademark neon green GoDaddy Chevrolet – in scaled-down form, of course?

Hey, maybe they can even make a talking Danica doll, where she says, “Eat my dust, Barbie.”

Of course, that leads to a rather obvious question. Since Barbie has her longtime boyfriend Ken, will we also potentially see a Ricky Stenhouse Jr. doll to go along with Danica, as well?

Yep, Ricky, that’ll likely go over real well around the Sprint Cup garage, for sure.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.