Tag:Danica Patrick
Posted on: August 19, 2011 2:32 pm

Earnhardt Jr. not involved in Danica negotiations

By Pete Pistone

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't add anything to the ongoing Danica Patrick story during his media session Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

Earnhardt said he has no role in the negotiations to bring the Indy Car driver to his JR Motorsports Nationwide Series team next season to run a full season, an announcement that is expected to come on Wednesday.

“It’s all Kelley," Earnhardt said about his sister Kelley Earnhardt, president of JR Motorsports.  "I haven’t talked to Danica (Patrick) at all about it -- I haven’t talked to Danica since the last time she was at the race track.  People always used to say that I didn’t have or I wasn’t focused or I had too many things going on, this, that and the other -- you would be surprised the little amount of things that I have to worry about.  Basically, this race car right here and not being late to anything.  That’s about all I have to worry about.”

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 6:03 pm

Official Danica to NASCAR announcement planned

By Pete Pistone

Stop me if you've heard this before but Danica Patrick will become a full-time NASCAR driver next season.

ESPN is reporting an official announcement will come next week that will put Patrick behind the wheel of a JR Motorsports Nationwide Series car for the full schedule in 2012 with plans to move into the Sprint Cup Series the following season.

A Fox Sports report late Wednesday said a press conference is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. PT.

Patrick is competing in her final contract year with Andretti Autosport in the IZOD Indy Car Series while also juggling a partial Nationwide program with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team.

Current sponsor GoDaddy.com is expected to sponsor Patrick's NASCAR effort and next week's announcement will most likely be held at the company's Phoenix, Arizona headquarters.

Still to be decided is what team Patrick would join for her Sprint Cup endeavor, which might include a handful of starts next season before moving into a full schedule in 2013. Stewart-Haas Racing is rumored to be a possible destination, although officials from that organization have denied anything is in place to add a third entry to its current stable of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman.

It's also unknown whether Patrick will be able to compete in the Indianapolis 500 while maintaining her NASCAR responsibilities.

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @ppistone on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

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Posted on: August 5, 2011 2:15 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 2:19 pm

Dale Earnhardt Jr. still unsure of Danica's plan

By Pete Pistone

Despite reports that have Danica Patrick on her way to NASCAR next year in a full-time capacity as a done deal, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still not completely sure what the 2012 plan is for his JR Motorsports Nationwide Series team.

While Earnhardt is still vague about whether or not Patrick will drive a full Nationwide schedule for his team next season with a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Stewart-Haas Racing, he’s convinced any driver trying to make the move to NASCAR needs time to season. 

"I think that anyone that comes into the sport, anyone, needs two or three years in the Trucks and Nationwide Series to step into the Cup Series comfortably," Earnhardt said Friday during his media session at Pocono Raceway he said. "Two or three years in the Nationwide Series is a pretty decent amount, and that would be rushing it in my mind." 

Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t believe it’s a great idea for Patrick or any driver to dive head first into the Sprint Cup pool. 

"It's just good for any driver, any young guy who comes into this sport to really take his time," he said. "I know once you get that opportunity in front of you, you're afraid it might be the only opportunity you have, but sometimes it's smarter to gain more experience at the Nationwide level because some guys come in a little early and they blow that opportunity and it turns out to be the only opportunity they ever get."

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 3:02 pm

Danica Patrick's NASCAR plans appear set

By Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick’s long-awaited decision on her racing future appears to have been made. 

The Associated Press is reporting Patrick will run a full Nationwide Series program for JR Motorsports in 2012 while making a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Stewart-Haas Racing. 

Sources at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend said the plan appears to have Patrick in a Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year program in 2013 most likely as a third car in the SHR stable. 

While Patrick herself is still non-committal about her future, JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. did give his view on the situation in Indianapolis admitting he was not completely sure what lied ahead. 

"I don't know,” Earnhardt said when asked where Patrick would race next season. “I haven't heard anything. I feel confident that she's content where she is and happy with what we're doing and I think things are looking positive for us to put something together. I would like for her to run full time and I'm sure she is considering that and I think she would enjoy it. She seems to really enjoy driving stock cars and racing in the Nationwide Series. We just have to see but I haven't heard anything about it." 

Patrick is scheduled to make more Nationwide starts this year once the IZOD Indy Car Series season is over in the fall.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 3:51 pm

Bank on Danica Patrick coming to NASCAR

By Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick

If I were a betting man I’d put a few dollars on Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 being the last appearance for Danica Patrick in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" for awhile. 

Perhaps I’m a little skittish in the wagering department after years of being a Chicago sports fan, but I’m pretty confident in my belief the next on track appearance at Indy for Ms. Patrick will come in the 2012 Brickyard 400. 

Speculation was heavy last week that Patrick’s deal to come to NASCAR full-time next season had been finalized. 

However despite a story first reported by ESPN.com that Patrick’s management company IMG had the wheels in motion for her to make the move to NASCAR, it was denied vehemently. 

“There have not been decisions made,” Patrick said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I’ll let you all know when I can and when the time is right. But it’s a long ways away from where we are now.” 

But even with Patrick’s denial, more signs pointed to her Indy Car departure when Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy.com the company who sponsors both her efforts in open wheel and NASCAR, gave his view of the future. 

"Given what she's done in the Nationwide races she's run, and given where she is in her life and what her plans are, I think the move to NASCAR makes a whole lot of sense," Parsons said. "It would be a wonderful thing for her and more wonderful for NASCAR." 

While Parsons may be right in his view that stock car racing would prosper from Patrick’s full-time arrival, it will be anything but wonderful for the Indy Car world. 

Even with the most thrilling Indianapolis 500 in years coming on the 100th Anniversary of the storied race, interest remains way down for Indy Car racing as it still reels from the CART-IRL split of the mid-1990s. 

ABC reported an increase of about six percent from last year’s television rating but Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, which may be the longest race on the schedule but is very a much a regular season event, generated just about the same audience. 

As a better point of reference NASCAR’s premier event, the Daytona 500, nearly doubled the television audience size of this year’s Indy 500. 

So it’s no wonder that Patrick will make the jump from open wheels to fenders. The chance to perform in front of a much larger audience and take advantage of the financial opportunities as a result are just too good to pass up. 

Those who question Patrick’s ability as a racecar driver underestimate just how talented she is behind the wheel. 

Her detractors point out Patrick’s one Indy Car win, but fail to remember she has worked for two mid-tier teams during her career with Rahal-Letterman and Andretti AutoSport. 

In better equipment and with a more competitive team such as a Ganassi or Penske, I have no doubt Patrick’s win record would be much higher. 

She made it difficult on herself by trying to juggle both an Indy Car and a Nationwide Series schedule the last two years. The back and forth between the two completely different types of cars and disciplines of racing no doubt has hindered her stock car education. 

But even so she’s shown considerable improvement with JR Motorsports and has definitely benefitted from working with veteran crew chief Tony Eury Jr. as well as the experience of going back to tracks for a second time. 

“When I went back to Fontana in the Nationwide I thought, I really need to have a better day,” Patrick said. “It’s really important to show that I learned from one time to the next. Fortunately, each time I’ve gone back it really has made a big difference. The most obvious being Vegas to go back there and finish fourth.” 

There’s no reason for Patrick to continue publicly waffling on where she’s headed in her racing career. One of the reasons some NASCAR fans bristle when the subject of Danica comes up is because of the constant “will she or won’t she” game that truth be told many have grown tired of hearing. 

Some believe her stalling to make a decision is a negotiating ploy to get more money from the open wheel world. It’s an untrue assessment because quite frankly there isn’t a team or sponsor in today’s Indy Car series that could come close to the contract and dollars Patrick will earn in NASCAR. 

“Danica Mania” is coming to NASCAR 24/7 in 2012 – like it or not.

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Posted on: May 24, 2011 4:44 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 4:56 pm

Reports: Danica Patrick to go NASCAR full-time

By Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick 
appears ready to wave good-bye to Indy Cars and hello to NASCAR full-time next season.

Several sources have reported that Patrick and her management team are in the process of finalizing a deal that would put her into a full Nationwide Series effort in 2012 with a handful of Sprint Cup races throw into the mix. A full-time Cup effort would then follow in 2013, in time for the debut of NASCAR’s next generation series car.

According to an ESPN.com report, current Indy Car and Nationwide Series sponsor Go-Daddy.com would follow Patrick to the next phase of her NASCAR career.

Patrick is represented by IMG, one of the largest sports agencies in the world. Her current contracts with Andretti Autosport in Indy Car and JR Motorsports in NASCAR expire at the end of this season.

Speculation is that Patrick would remain in the JR Motorsports camp for the Nationwide campaign in 2012 and help the organization elevate to a Sprint Cup effort the following season.

Patrick was asked about her contract situation over the weekend during qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indy 500, but was coy about what her next career move may be.

"I suppose anything is possible," Patrick said. "But I know for me, I haven't made any of those decisions yet."

Patrick will start 25th in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. Her next scheduled NASCAR start will come with in the June 4th Nationwide Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:15 am

Video of the Day: Danica crashes out at Bristol

Posted by Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick's last NASCAR race until June 4th didn't end very well Saturday in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol. She was involved in a crash with Ryan Truex late in the race and was not too pleased with the turn of events that knocked her out:

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: March 19, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2011 6:59 pm

Crash leaves Patrick frustrated


By Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick’s final NASCAR race until June 4th didn’t go exactly as she had hoped.

Coming off her historic fourth place finish at Las Vegas two weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which made Patrick the highest finishing female driver in NASCAR since 1949, her first trip to Bristol Motor Speedway ended like it has for many a driver over the years – in the garage with a battered race car.

While running 17th, Patrick made contact with Ryan Truex racing down the backstretch with 48 laps to go in Saturday’s Nationwide Series Scotts EZ Seed 300. Patrick wound up sliding through turn three before smashing hard into the outside retaining wall.

She was uninjured in the crash but not happy with Truex.

“It felt like to me, I came out of the corner I was just running down the straight and it felt like he came off the wall,” said Patrick. “I don’t I know if he had a tag-slap off the wall, like he was pushing up and then it snapped on him and he came off. I don’t know. I don’t know if I may be giving him the benefit of the doubt right there.”

Truex didn’t waste any time after the race ended to apologize for the incident and took blame for ending Patrick’s day and ruining his chance for a better finish.

“It was my fault. I guess that’s just racing at Bristol,” Truex said. “We were racing there and I just came off the corner, got loose, and as I was saving it just came down the hill and got into her. My fault. I mean, I’m sorry. I didn’t want for that to happen. I don’t know if she thinks I did it on purpose. I guess she’s just mad because she was running good. It was an accident. I apologize.”

So a 33rd place finish is what Patrick has to show for her effort in her final NASCAR race for three months as she embarks on the 2011 IZOD Indy Car Series season next weekend in St. Petersburg.

“I’m just disappointed,” Patrick said. “I felt like this was a pretty decent run at Bristol for the first time.

  … It’s disappointing to leave for a couple of months with this kind of a thing.”


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Category: Auto Racing
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