Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday there was nothing new to report with Danica Patrick despite an ESPN story this week that reiterated the IndyCar Series star was coming to NASCAR.
"There ain't been no announcement yet, so I don't know why you would go report that," Earnhardt Jr. told ESPN's Marty Smith, who had followed up his report with a question about Patrick. "We've enjoyed working with her. Would love to keep working with her. When there's something to announce, they'll announce it."
When Smith then tried to ask a "hypothetical" question about Patrick, Earnhardt Jr. said, "I don't deal in hypotheticals" and added, "I can't do you no favors today."
Earnhardt Jr. acknowledged later, however, that his sister Kelley was doing all the negotiating and that Earnhardt Jr. hadn't spoken to Patrick since she was at the Daytona race in July. The ESPN report said Patrick would announce her plans next week.
NASCAR's most popular driver cited his lack of involvement in the negotiations as evidence that he's focused more than ever on his racing.
"People always used to say that I wasn't focused, I had too many things going on, this, that and the other," he said. "You'd be surprised the little amount of things I have to worry about. It's basically this race car right here and not being late to anything. That's all I have to worry about."
Earnhardt Jr. said he "would like to think" he had veto power over any decisions at JR Motorsports, but added he's "tried to exercise it a few times and it worked, and sometimes it doesn't."
"My sister can put up a pretty convincing argument," he said. "She went to college to learn about how to be a businesswoman and I went to college to learn how to build an (engine) starter and get my inspection license. I trust her opinion."
In regard to Patrick's performance on the track, Earnhardt Jr. said the Go Daddy girl has achieved "success" in what she's accomplished already in NASCAR.
"She's awesome about" adapting to the Nationwide car, he said. "She seems like she's fun to work with."