Sources: Danica to drive for JRM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Danica Patrick will announce on Tuesday in Phoenix her decision to drive a part-time Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports in 2010, multiple sources told ESPN.com on Monday.
GoDaddy.com, which is handling the announcement at a 1 p.m. ET news conference, sent out a media alert late Monday afternoon. A news release Tuesday said that Patrick and JR Motorsports co-owner and general manager Kelley Earnhardt would attend.
ESPN.com reported last month that Patrick was in the final stages of negotiations with JRM to compete in about a dozen races in a No. 7 -- her number in IndyCar -- Chevrolet with GoDaddy.com as the sponsor. The source said that has not changed.
The GoDaddy.com sponsorship will be only for the races in which Patrick drives, sources said. JRM continues to look for sponsors for the No. 88 that will be driven by Kelly Bires and any remaining races for the second car.
When Patrick announced her three-year extension with Andretti Autosport last week in New York a picture appeared on her Web site with her in a NASCAR firesuit bearing a JRM and other NASCAR-related logos. It quickly was removed.
The plan is to enter Patrick in the ARCA Series opener in February at Daytona International Speedway and get her approved by NASCAR for the Nationwide race.
ARCA owner Bobby Gerhart recently was contacted about putting Patrick in one of his cars for a Dec. 18-20 test at Daytona. He told ESPN.com on Monday he expected her to be in a car prepared by JR Motorsports at the test.
"My gut feeling is I think she'll drive something out of Mooresville, N.C.,'' he said, referring to the location of JR. "That's what I'm hearing. It'll be that powerful of a program that that's the way it would go if that happens.''
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, the co-owners of JRM, have made no secret they are pursuing Patrick.
"She's going to drive stock cars for somebody, someday," Earnhardt recently said. "It's just too much of a -- look at all the Formula One guys over here checking [NASCAR] out -- the writing is on the wall for her and several other guys. I think it's exciting. She would be great for our sport. She wants to see what's up."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.