My take on the Danica Patrick, Max Papis, Jacques Villeneuve incident at Road America


Quite a good NASCAR Nationwide race earlier today at Road America in Wisconsin.

As usual, when NASCAR races on road courses, we see a lot of ‘tradin paint’, especially in the last few laps. Today’s race, ultimately won by Nelson Piquet Jr., was no exception.

On the last lap, with Picquet running away with the victory, this happened:

Here’s my take… it’s too bad for Danica, because she drove a really solid race. But, that was a pure racing incident. All three drivers, Patrick, Papis and Villeneuve are racing for position. Villeneuve clearly had the most speed going down the straight and was bumped by Papis into the grass. Both Patrick and Villeneuve were carrying too much speed into the corner and were experiencing ‘wheel hop’. I wonder if either of them could have made the corner had the contact not happened. In the end, there was contact, and it wrecked Danica’s race, but I chalk it up to being a racing incident… can’t blame Jacques on this one. (Granted, Villeneuve could have been more gracious in his post race interview)

The post-race reaction has been quite negative towards Villeneuve, which I find interesting. How is this incident any different than when Michael McDowell spun Villeneuve earlier in the race? It isn’t… but there was no negative reaction to McDowell, nor should there be. It’s racing people!

Sadly, this incident doesn’t help Villeneuve’s chances of landing a full time NASCAR ride. Too bad, like him or not, Jacques always makes races interesting.

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12 thoughts on “My take on the Danica Patrick, Max Papis, Jacques Villeneuve incident at Road America

  1. Your take is just off… He had control and basically tapped her… It is what is wrong with NASCAR. He should lose all his points. Call it bad driving or intentionally wrecking another… Other drivers would have hunted him down and tagged him…

    • Hi Mitch. Thanks for the comment, though I don’t agree.

      If you say that is what is wrong with NASCAR, why would you suggest other drivers would hunt him down and tag him? Seems like a conflicting viewpoint.

      • I think he just barely got control back from the grass trip but he was making sure he was gonna outbrake and pass Papis and at the same time i think Danica braked more than usual to be conservative in that tricky turn 5, then combination of those 2 is bang, last lap racing incident… look at the noses of JV and MP during the braking zone, distance stays the same, telemetry data would answer all that !!

    • Anyone that watched the in-car camera of JV could easily see that he was wheel hopping right up until he bumped Danica. JV’s account of the incident was frank as usual, and right on the money. He did not blame Papis as some of the headlines claimed but he did say Max may not have seen him and it was the fact that the contact from Max was right in the braking zone forcing JV into the grass. A car does not wheel hop if a driver is intentionally trying to take out another. It comes under hard braking!

      • BobbyJet, thanks for the comment. I completely agree.

        Jacques could have been a little less blunt in his post race comments, but hey, that’s Jacques! The media hasn’t really helped things out either… as you mention, they’ve mis-interpreted his comments. In fact, if you watch the interview with Danica after the race, the reporter actually led in with ‘Jacques said he doesn’t care, what do you think about that?” Well, not really, he said he didn’t care about what Danica’s Crew Chief had to say.

        That said, I thought this was a pretty funny video put out by Danica’s team… http://www.jrmracing.com/news/2012/06/28/jrm-360-episode-19

        LOL :-)

  2. Hey, Mitch, maybe JV should have hunted McDowell down. Without that bump, J likely could hv won the race.

    Funny how nascar promotes races based on the amount of carnage that will occur, short track & road courses, especially… but then a fan fave gets bumped and the crying starts.

    • Thanks for the comment Craig and thanks for reading the blog.

      I do find it intersting that Jacques gets criticized, while McDowell gets praised for the same stuff. McDowell even admitted he was happy he took Villeneuve out in his post-race comments: “Jacques put it three wide, and then stopped,” McDowell said. “He drove it in so far, he just stopped. I’m like, ‘Man, hey, there’s still a race going on here; let’s go.’ I just got into him a little bit, not intentionally, not blatantly.

      “But, however, I did come off that corner going, ‘Hooo, glad I don’t have to worry about that dude any more.’ I’m not trying to be a funny guy but your nerves get awful tight when the 22 is around you on these road course races. It’s like indoor karting; you just never know when your buddy’s going to run you over. I was glad he was far enough back that I didn’t see this white lightning ball coming down into Turn 5 on any of the rest of the restarts.”

      But like I said in my post, I have no issue with McDowell spinning Villeneuve, just as I have no issue with Villeneuve spinning Danica Patrick. It’s part of NASCAR road course racing.

      • And what about Allgaier…. now thats a real “too late braking”, lol, but no one talks about it… Here, the tv commentator joked about it, after Allgaier radioed his crew, saying “i had a problem with the brakes”, commentator said his crew would probably reply :”yes, we know, telemetry shows u putted your foot way too late on the pedal, stupid…”

  3. Let’s review, shall we?
    Jock hit her from behind, therefore, he was probably going faster than her. If “either of them could have made the corner” it is less likely that Jock could have. Jock was on the extreme inside of turn 5. Unless you want me to believe it the best way to set up for that turn I submit that if it is unknown if Danica would have made the turn it is almost certain that Jock could not. Bottom line; extremely poor judgement, bad driving and avoidable if only a little proper technique and respect had been used. It was a hack and most probably deliberate due to extreme low self esteem. Heaven forbid Jock get beat by a girl.

    • Well thought out argument, Joe. Danica hit the brakes a few metres earlier than Jacques, and that’s why he touched, I think. And it’s not like he hit her that hard; all it took was a nudge at that point to send her off track. I still say it’s a racing incident.

      As for Jacques being beaten by a girl; I really don’t think he cares about that.

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