Lady's Choice: Danica Reportedly Plans To Race Full-Time In NASCAR Next Season
IndyCar and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and her management team are “working on a plan that would bring her full-time to NASCAR in 2012,” according to sources cited by Terry Blount of ESPN.com. Patrick “hopes to finalize a deal soon that would have her race full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next season.” She would also race “a few Sprint Cup events in 2012 before going full-time” in the Sprint Cup Series in ‘13. The plan “includes Patrick continuing to compete in the Indianapolis 500 next year.” Sources said that “which team she will race for, and other details, still are being finalized.” Go Daddy, which sponsors her IndyCar and Nationwide rides, is “expected to stay with her if she moves to NASCAR full-time.” Her contracts with Andretti Autosport in the Izod IndyCar Series and JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series “end after this year.” Patrick is represented by IMG (ESPN.com, 5/24). Blount said Patrick is making the move in part because she "can make a lot more money" in NASCAR than IndyCar, but it is "more than that." Blount: "She really has enjoyed racing ... in the Nationwide Series. She is better in oval track racing and she doesn't like road racing." It could be "several weeks away or into the summer before they finalize all the details and actually are ready to make an announcement" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 5/24).
INDYCAR DRIVERS TALK ABOUT NEWS: IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani said if Patrick’s “plan long-term is to race in NASCAR, I think she has to pay her dues like everyone else.” Fellow IndyCar driver Oriol Servia said Patrick is "in a different position than I think any of us.” Servia: “She's a great driver, but she's probably the most popular driver in IndyCar or NASCAR in the country. So she could probably choose to do NASCAR, IndyCar or Formula One if she wants to.” Driver Scott Dixon: "Our racing is not a contact sport whereas NASCAR can be quite rough at the best of times. So it's going to be a different thing. But I know what ... I love to do is IndyCar" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/24).