Hendrick says Patrick deal not done
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Rick Hendrick said Sunday he has no deal to bring IndyCar superstar Danica Patrick to NASCAR, and there's no certainty she'll even be driving stock cars next season.
"I just think that they are not even close to making a decision on whether to even do it this year or next year," Hendrick said of Patrick and her representatives at IMG.
"You never know until it's done. You never know until it's signed. And anybody can change their mind. When you get down to the nitty gritty of any deal, it's always complicated. There can always be someone who comes back and says 'I can't do it because of this.' So until it's done, it's not done. And that's the honest truth."
Patrick is reportedly in the final stages of a contract that would partner her on a limited Nationwide Series schedule with JR Motorsports, the team owned by both Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
But speaking before Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, Hendrick called the reports "premature" and insisted nothing is imminent.
"I think everything is an option, and it's just too early to really comment on it," he said. "I can't give you anything concrete, because there isn't anything concrete right now. Nothing is imminent until it's signed. Too many things can happen."
Hendrick, who just returned from a weeklong vacation in Israel, said there have been no new developments in talks with Patrick and that IndyCar remains her first priority. Existing contracts she has in that series could also complicate a potential venture into NASCAR.
"These are complicated deals, you have other contracts with the sport she's in, that's primary to her," he said.
Patrick has said very little about her 2010 plans, including an apparent contract extension to stay with Andretti Green Racing. Part of that holdup is a pending change of team ownership, which is expected to be transferred solely to Michael Andretti.
Once that transaction is complete -- potentially by the end of this month -- then Patrick is expected to announce her extension. That could also be holding up any deals in NASCAR.
But Hendrick said he supports her decision to try NASCAR on a limited schedule to gauge her skill and interest.
"I've been impressed with the way her approach has been," he said. "She wants to do the right thing and the right pace, and that's the only way she should do it.
"It's not like she's going to try to run Cup out of the gate. I think she's going to see how she likes it, whether she might be into it. I think she's doing it the right way."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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