The contrast among the three drivers that walked away from full-time rides in the Cup series Sunday is quite amazing.

We know the impact that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has had on the sport the last 18 years; and, while Matt Kenseth may not have had a similar impact among the fan base, he certainly had an effect elsewhere.

Danica Patrick is almost the opposite.  She never had the kind of success on the track that most hoped to see, but her impact off of it was immeasurable.

For the bulk of her six full seasons, she may have been the sport's second most popular driver trailing only Junior.

The hole she's going to leave will not be filled soon.  Backstage at driver introductions, you would see her spending a good deal of her time with the other driver's young daughters.  They love her.

In an age where diversity is in the forefront, there is no clear heir apparent to be a role model for the young ladies.  And that's a shame.