Sources: Danica making NASCAR plans
Danica Patrick and her management team are working on a plan that would bring her full-time to NASCAR in 2012, sources said Tuesday.
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 to Cup in 2013.
The plan includes Patrick continuing to compete in the Indianapolis 500 next year. Patrick is the only woman ever to lead a lap in the Indy 500. She will compete in her seventh Indy 500 on Sunday.
Which team she will race for, and other details, still are being finalized, sources said.
Go-Daddy.com, which sponsors her Indy car and the car she drives in the Nationwide Series, is expected to stay with her if she moves to NASCAR full-time. Go-Daddy also sponsors the No. 5 Cup car that Mark Martin drives for Hendrick Motorsports, but Kasey Kahne is replacing Martin next season.
Patrick, 29, has raced full-time in the IndyCar Series since 2005. She became the first woman to win a major open-wheel racing event when she went to Victory Lane in Motegi, Japan, in 2008.
Patrick has also raced a partial schedule in the Nationwide Series the past two seasons for JR Motorsports, which is owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Her contracts with Andretti Autosport in the IndyCar Series and JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series end after this year. Patrick said last week at Indianapolis that she hasn't made any decisions about her future.
"I suppose anything is possible," she said then. "But I know for me, I haven't made any of those decisions yet."
Her success in IndyCar has made her a national celebrity and one of the most recognizable sports figures in America.
Patrick's decision two years ago to test her skills in a stock car immediately led to speculation on whether she would leave IndyCar to race full-time in NASCAR.
Patrick is represented by IMG, one of the biggest sports marketing firms in the country.
Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
MORE RACING HEADLINES
- Phoenix Racing hires B. Labonte for Daytona
- Dillon to drive Dale Sr.'s No. 3 in Sprint Cup
- Kahne, Stewart will honor Leffler at Chili Bowl
- NASCAR runs simulations to set 2014 rules