Andretti confident Danica deal is coming
SONOMA, Calif. -- Owner Michael Andretti is confident Andretti-Green Racing will re-sign Danica Patrick beyond this IndyCar season -- and perhaps soon.
Andretti said the sides are "close" to an agreement and he gave Patrick a big hug and best wishes moments before the start of Sunday's 75-lap Sonoma Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway, the final road course event of the year. Patrick was part of a crash in Lap 1 and finished 16th. She couldn't be reached for comment afterward regarding the potential deal with Andretti.
"I think we're getting close," Andretti told The Associated Press in pit row. "She wants to be here. We want her to be here. I've been saying that for a while."
Patrick had to be encouraged that all five AGR drivers qualified top-12 Saturday on the challenging 12-turn, 2.303-mile road course at Infineon. Patrick came into Sunday's race fifth in points at 321. Her season-best finish of third at the Indianapolis 500 was the top ever by a female in the event's history.
Patrick is in the final year of her three-year IndyCar contract with Andretti-Green Racing. She has said she'll wait until the end of the season to solidify her next move. But she hasn't ruled out a switch to NASCAR, a series that would give the glamour girl tremendous earning potential in both salary, sponsorship and marketing opportunities.
She has visited several NASCAR shops in North Carolina, including points leader Tony Stewart's new team.
Andretti said he's been in talks with Patrick's representatives at IMG and hasn't yet spoken directly to Patrick about her future with Andretti-Green Racing. He's encouraged that something could be done soon.
"I hope so, it'd be nice," Andretti said. "Nothing's final."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press