Following an Associated Press report earlier in the week that Danica Patrick was close to completing a deal to run the full Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports in 2012, team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained quiet on the rumors on Friday at Pocono Raceway.
Earnhardt Jr. said there was no news on the Danica front, adding he is not in the middle of negotiations but nothing has changed over the past week.
When asked if he would consider bringing Mark Martin on as a mentor for Patrick at JR Motorsports, Earnhardt Jr. said the money simply is not there.
"We can't consider adding to our program without money, and money is tight," he said.
The story also indicated Patrick was working on a deal to run a handful of Sprint Cup Series races with Stewart-Haas Racing, something Earnhardt Jr. believes should be put off until she is ready.
"I think that anyone that comes into the sport – anyone – needs two or three years in the Trucks and Nationwide Series to step into the Cup Series comfortably," he said. "Two or three years in the Nationwide Series is a pretty decent amount (of time), and that would be rushing it in my mind."
Earnhardt Jr. said not only are the Sprint Cup cars a "big challenge" but the demands of the schedule, the travel and everything associated with the series is "a big pool to jump in right off the bat."
"It's just good for any driver, any young guy who comes into this sport to really take his time," he said. "I know once you get that opportunity in front of you, you're afraid it might be the only opportunity you have, but sometimes it's smarter to gain more experience at the Nationwide level because some guys come in a little early and they blow that opportunity and it turns out to be the only opportunity they ever get."