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Old 12-09-2009, 11:16 AM   #31
Fire Haley

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Default Re: Danica near NASCAR deal

It's official!

Go Danica!

Danica signs with Dale jr racing

Danica Patrick, the most popular driver in Indy-style auto racing, finally confirmed today that she will try her hand at NASCAR stock-car racing next year in a car co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver.

Patrick, 27, said she would drive a No. 7 Chevrolet in a "limited number" of races in NASCAR's lower-level Nationwide Series in a car owned by JR Motorsports, a team owned by Earnhardt and his sister Kelley Earnhardt and Rick Hendrick, who owns Hendrick Motorsports, one of NASCAR's most successful teams.

The exact number of races has yet to be decided, but they will be mainly before and after the March-to-October schedule of races in the Izod IndyCar Series, Patrick said at a news conference in Phoenix, where she lives.

As a stepping stone to her Nationwide races, Patrick said she would start by driving in a race Feb. 6 in the second-tier ARCA stock-car series at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Her decision ended months of speculation -- fomented in large part by Patrick's public statements -- about whether she would try to compete in NASCAR, the nation's most popular form of motor racing.It remains to be seen whether Patrick can reach NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series where the likes of Earnhardt, reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and others compete.

"There's no necessary time frame on that," Patrick said. "It's going to be a challenge and I have a lot to learn. This is a great opportunity to learn as fast as possible."
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:31 PM   #32
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Default Re: Danica near NASCAR deal

Nationwide seems like a good fit...and they start with the Mexican Road race, correct? That's a PERFECT fit for her...nice way to break into the sport...
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:21 AM   #33
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Default Re: Danica near NASCAR deal

don't know which Nationwide races yet - she's still running Indycar full time

Her first appearance will be in the ARCA cars the day before the SB. - at DAYTONA

Danica's first year in a stock car won't be pretty

By Doug Demmons - The Birmingham News

The folks at Lucas Oil must be ecstatic.

Whatever they paid to sponsor the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 season-opening ARCA race at Daytona – it was a bargain.

The Feb. 6 race – one day before the Super Bowl -- was likely to show up as so much ground clutter on the national media radar screen.

But not after Tuesday. Not after Danica’s big announcement – the one she’s been mulling over since last summer.

Danica Patrick is going stock car racing. She’s doing a partial Nationwide Series schedule that will bookend the IZOD IndyCar schedule. That means a few races before the March 14 season opener in Brazil, a few races after the Oct. 2 season-ender at Homestead and perhaps some races in between.

But before she does any of that, Danica will debut at Daytona in the 80-lap, 200-mile ARCA race. Her presence will guarantee a media circus, despite coming on Super Bowl Eve.

But how long is that going to last? How many 27th-place finishes a lap down will it take until the media glare moves on and she’s just another struggling open-wheeler who may or may not make it?

Because that’s what’s going to happen. She’ll stink up the track for a while.

To compound the challenge she faces, she’ll be at a plate track where she’ll not only have to get used to the heavier, harder-to-turn stock car – she’ll also have to figure out drafting pretty darn quick. And she’ll get an introduction to something they don’t do in Indy cars – bump-drafting.

It could get interesting.

“Her first taste of stock car racing won't be easy,” said Alli Owens, one of at least three female drivers likely to be in the ARCA race. “She's going to have to learn the ins and outs of stock car drafting. So much of her success will come down to who's willing to race with her, and that's a matter of earning her competitors' respect. She'll need to show them that she can push them to the front and they'll be happy to return the favor.”

If the first win for a female driver in a NASCAR or ARCA race comes in 2010, it is much more likely to be Owens in Victory Lane than Danica.

Owens will be driving for Venturini Motorsports, one of ARCA’s best teams, in her third season. She finished sixth at Talladega last season.

Or it might be Johanna Long, the 17-year-old phenom from Pensacola who has been dazzling in a super late model at her home track at Five Flags Speedway. Long, who started on the pole Sunday alongside Kyle Busch in the Snowball Derby, will drive an ARCA schedule for D’Hondt Motorsports in 2010.

But Owens and Long aren’t GoDaddy girls. And they haven’t posed for SI’s swimsuit edition. And they don’t have a “brand.”

And they won’t be featured in racy Super Bowl commercials.

Danica has all that, plus the only win by a female driver in a major open-wheel series, plus Tony Eury Jr. as her crew chief.

And she’s got guts. She’s putting a lot on the line to compete in a series where she has zero experience. If she flops, her “brand” could suffer greatly.

She has a ton of driving talent, enough to eventually win a NASCAR race. But like Scott Speed in 2009 and Sam Hornish Jr. in 2008 it’s going to be a rugged learning process.

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