Free Advice For Danica: Don't Be Selfish

Don't do it, Danica.

JR Motorsports announced Thursday that Danica Patrick will run 12 races this year, her first in NASCAR competition. But the team said she could potentially up that number to 13 if the ARCA series race at Daytona goes well enough for her to try the Nationwide Series event there a week later.

Deciding to run the Daytona Nationwide race - thereby booting full-time teammate Kelly Bires from the season opener - would be a huge mistake.

The team said owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run one of its two cars at Daytona because of a sponsor commitment, leaving only one for Patrick or Bires. JRM will give Patrick the option to move up her scheduled NASCAR debut (a week later in California) and drive at Daytona.

If she elected to do so, it would be an extraordinarily selfish decision. It would knock Bires out of the season points race before he ever got started, damage morale for team members who are in it for the long haul and serve to benefit only one person: Danica Patrick.

That's not the kind of entrance Danica wants to make in the sport where she is a newcomer and remains an outsider based on her full-time job in the Izod IndyCar Series.

Choosing to bump Bires from his regular gig - even for a week - could generate more bad publicity than Jay Leno replacing Conan O'Brien. That kind of me-first, slash-and-burn mentality won't get her very far in the NASCAR garage.

So don't do it, Danica. Make a smart entrance into the sport without alienating race fans who are just getting to know you.

Drive the ARCA race at Daytona and learn everything you can, then we'll see you in California.

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