Report: Danica reaches deal with AGR
MOTEGI, Japan -- Danica Patrick agreed to a three-year contract to remain at Andretti Green Racing and stay in the IndyCar Series, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star.
Patrick, the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in last year's Indy Japan, is finishing her fifth season in the IndyCar series and is fifth in points. She's been rumored to be considering a move to NASCAR and still could compete in a limited number of races.
Jeff Belskus, the president and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said the 27-year-old driver is important to the future of the series.
"I know she has said winning the Indianapolis 500 is important to her and that it's a lifelong dream to win that race," Belskus said at the Indy Japan 300.
Patrick finished sixth at this year's Indy Japan, which was won by Scott Dixon.
NASCAR star Tony Stewart said this month that he has no doubts that Patrick will eventually make the jump to stock cars. They've talked frequently about what it would take for Patrick to go from open-wheel racing to the heavier cars.
"I just know that she's excited about this and making this change," Stewart said before a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I can pretty much guarantee at some point she's going to be over here."
Stewart made the same jump himself more than a decade ago, leaving the IRL for a more lucrative deal in NASCAR. He's become something of a mentor to Patrick, who visited his racing shop and talked with him at sponsor appearances.
"She's looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Hey, this is what I want to do. It looks like fun. It looks like a lot of work, but it looks like fun," Stewart said.
Stewart told reporters at last week's Sprint Cup race in New Hampshire that he has "not made an offer" to Patrick for a deal with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press