SCOTTSDALE, AZ - AUGUST 25: Danica Patrick poses with the #7 Chevrolet at a press conference to announce her full transition to NASCAR at the Headquarters on August 25, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Danica Patrick Finalizes 2012 NASCAR Schedule

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Danica Patrick's 2012 NASCAR Schedule Finalized

We finally know where Danica Patrick's 10th and final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start will take place this season: At Kansas Speedway in October.

Patrick's 10th race had been TBA ever since she announced the schedule last year, but it was finally released today. Stewart-Haas Racing chose Kansas because the newly repaved track will allow for an extra test day – and Patrick needs all the track time she can get.

"With the testing rules the way they are, we can't test with her at tracks where NASCAR's top three series compete," SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli said. "That extra day of testing will be huge for her. With the amount of 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule, it made sense to have her compete at Kansas to better prepare her for 2013."

So far, Patrick has competed in three Cup races: The Daytona 500, Darlington and the Coca-Cola 600. Her best finish is 30th (at Charlotte) and she hasn't finished less than five laps down in any of the races so far.

Here's a look at the rest of Patrick's schedule for 2012:

Aug. 25 – Bristol

Sept. 2 – Atlanta

Sept. 16 – Chicago

Sept. 30 – Dover

Oct. 21 – Kansas

Nov. 4 – Texas

Nov. 11 – Phoenix


Danica Patrick Crashes In Daytona Nationwide Series Race

Danica Patrick entered Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway confident and thinking it was her best chance to score her maiden NASCAR win.

But her night came to an unexpected end on lap 84, when Patrick was left with nowhere to go when Jeffrey Earnhardt was turned off of Turn 2. In the ensuing chaos, Patrick's car veered sideways and savagely hit the backstretch wall.

"I have no idea because I didn't see it," Patrick said when asked what happened. "All I saw was that there was an accident happening in front of me and I went low to miss it and other than that, honestly I would be making it up from whatever happened from there on out."

For most of the evening, it appeared Patrick's No. 7 car for JR Motorsports was one of the cars to beat as she ran with the lead pack throughout and even paced the field for 14 laps.

Ultimately, though, all this did was make the end result all the more disappointing.

"It's just really frustrating when I have as fast as a car as I did," Patrick said. "I know Tony (Eury, crew chief) Jr. is frustrated. I know he expected to see it in Victory Lane and I did, too –- especially after the big accident in (Turns) 1 and 2, I thought, ‘This job got a little easier.'"

But it wasn't to be and instead of celebrating her first series win, Patrick's night ended early with a wrecked race car –- a car she thought was good enough to win with.

"I'm sure there were plenty of other cars that had pretty darn good speed, especially with the way you could work in tandems –- obviously tandems are the stronger way to go," Patrick said. "But I definitely think I had one of the cars to beat tonight, absolutely."


NASCAR At Daytona: Did Danica Patrick Call Her Shot For Nationwide Win?

Danica Patrick will win tonight's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway...according to Danica Patrick.

Well, kind of.

Patrick was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday morning, and host Dan Patrick (no relation) nudged her toward making a prediction at the end of the interview.

Dan: "If you want to call your shot that you'll win tonight, might as well do it."

Danica: "... I heard one of the officials come over and say all the officials are saying I'm going to win the race tonight. They've been around a long time and seen a lot of races, so I'm going to go with the officials on this one."

Dan: "You're calling your shot. Danica Patrick will win tonight's race at Daytona."

Danica: "Get ready."

Wow. So Danica Patrick says she's going to win her first NASCAR race tonight at Daytona? Did Patrick (Danica, not Dan) really say that?

"That's true, that's true," Patrick said with a laugh, speaking a few hours after her interview with the other Patrick. "But then I was taking a shower after washing off my hairspray and makeup and I was like, 'Wait a second. That kind of sounded like a jerk thing to say!' So what I really should have said is, 'Well I shouldn't be betting against myself, should I?'

"So that's my answer. I really shouldn't bet against myself."

Patrick said she wasn't making a guarantee that she'd win, because there are no guarantees in racing.

"You all know that," she said. "It's like when somebody comes up and asks you, 'Are you going to win tonight?' Well, I'm going to try! That's the best I can do."

But because of her experience at Daytona (she's run more laps here than any other NASCAR track) and her car (JR Motorsports always has good superspeedway cars), Patrick said she has "as good a chance as ever" to win her first race tonight.

And reality, that makes her anything but confident enough to call her shot.

"I guess you could say I'm a little nervous," she said.


Danica Patrick Pictures Improvements Instead Of Disappointing NASCAR Results

Despite some setbacks this season – her first full-time campaign in the NASCAR Nationwide Series – Danica Patrick prefers to focus on the positives instead of dwelling on her lackluster finishes.

"I could sort of go through all the the things I think have been better over the year so far – and there's been quite a few of them," she said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "So instead of getting upset about the individual weekends and the results, it's better to think about what you've improved on and the things you need to improve on moving forward so your results keep getting better."

Patrick is 11th in the point standings after the first 12 races of the season, but she has just one top-10 finish. She has led three laps this year – all at restrictor-plate tracks.

But the JR Motorsports driver indicated a belief that her performance has been dragged down by things happening out of her control.

"I can't change anything about the fact that stuff just happens in the race and bad luck comes," she said. "All we can do is work really hard and be as fast as we can in practice and qualify as fast as we can and let it all play out."

Patrick said she needs to keep getting better despite the progress she feels she's made, but that improvement will happen.

"We will (improve)," she said. "It's just going to take time."


Danica Patrick NASCAR Predictions: How Will She Fare In 2012?

Danica Patrick made it official this afternoon: The Go Daddy girl is coming to NASCAR on a full-time basis in 2012.

What will this mean for Danica, for NASCAR and for race fans? SB Nation's Jeff Gluck and Jay Pennell attempted to tackle that question and more below.

Q: Who benefits most from this move – Danica, NASCAR or the teams she's joining?

Gluck: Gotta be Danica. If you look at the Nationwide Series ratings for the races Danica has been in, there hasn't been any sort of significant change (aside from her first two races) and attendance hasn't noticeably increased. Of course there will be an initial bump in attention – particularly around the Daytona 500 next year – but NASCAR isn't going to suddenly regain its former popularity just because Danica is around. She's the one who is going to be raking in the money, the endorsements and the fame. NASCAR and her teams will benefit, but not as much as she will.

Pennell: I think it is a win, win, win situation for all parties involved. Obviously Danica is bringing in the dough and basking in the attention from this move, but both NASCAR and the teams she is joining will benefit as well. For NASCAR, perhaps the attendance will not see a marked increase, but this is yet another winning moment the sport can dangle over the head of American open-wheel racing. Instead of staying in the IndyCar ranks and perhaps competing on a weekly basis for wins, Danica – like others before her and perhaps some yet to come – have decided NASCAR is the No. 1 form of motorsports in America and the place to be. For the teams she joins, her presence brings the all-important sponsorship dollars that are more than hard to come by in a down economy as we are experiencing these days.

Q: Did Danica go about this process the "right" way?

Gluck: For the most part, yes. The announcement and the decision got dragged out, but there's understandably a lot of details and negotiations that go into these things. My one issue with her NASCAR arrival is she probably should have tried more of a Travis Pastrana plan with K&N races to start with and then jumped into Nationwide. It was kind of embarrassing when she didn't know how anything worked the first few races.

Pennell: I agree. Her decision to come to NASCAR was one that was widely speculated and long-rumored, but I think she handled things well behind the scenes and in the media. We cannot necessarily blame Danica for the media furor over her transition from IndyCar, as you said, those things take time – just ask Carl Edwards.

Q: What are your realistic expectations for how Danica will fare in Nationwide next year?

Gluck: Steve Wallace is eighth in points and has five top-10s so far this year – and Danica isn't nearly as good of a stock car driver as even Wallace is. Any full-time Nationwide driver on a well-funded team should finish in the top 10 in the standings (there aren't that many), so I expect her to be 10th in points with about a half-dozen top-10 finishes next season. She'll occasionally hit on the track where she can challenge for a top-five, but she won't win (unless it's fuel strategy) and she'll mostly run around 15th-20th all year.

Pennell: I think Jerry Baxter and a few others might argue your point about Steven Wallace, but that's another story. I was trying to explain this to a casual fan last night who said he did not expect much from her once she made the jump to full-time racing. I think once she commits herself 100 percent to NASCAR her attention and focus will lead to better results and marked improvement throughout the year.

I do not expect her to light the world on fire once the season starts, but once she develops that routine and rapport with the crew and gets accustomed to racing the same competitors week-in and week-out, I think she will start to move up the finishing order. I don't foresee her earning a victory in her first season – look how hard it is for Nationwide Series regulars like Jason Leffler, Justin Allgaier and others to win – but I would not rule out the possibility at Daytona or Talladega (using the draft) or a pit strategy call.

Q: And what about for her seven Sprint Cup races?

Gluck: Sprint Cup is a completely different story. I don't care what kind of equipment she has: Unless it's a restrictor-plate race or a fuel mileage race, there's no way she's going to finish in the top 30 in any race on her own merits next year. It's hard for any NASCAR Cup rookie to do well, let alone someone with as little experience as Danica. Does anyone realize that even start-and-park drivers could do better in Danica's Cup car next year?

Pennell: Two words: Sam Hornish. He is a much more accomplished driver in the open-wheel ranks and amounted to very little when he made the move to the Sprint Cup Series. Danica is in for a rude awakening if she believes she can jump into one of those cars and be competitive.

Question: Who will have more stories written about them leading into next year's Daytona 500 – Danica or Dale Earnhardt Jr.?

Gluck: Danica. The mainstream sports media is going to love this story and eat it up. ESPN is going to promote it everywhere. FOX will feature her on its Daytona 500 promos. There will be so much hype about Danica's Cup debut, you won't know anyone else is even in the race.

Pennell: Perhaps they will rename it the Danica 500.


Danica Patrick To Announce 2012 Full-Time NASCAR Plans Thursday

The tease is over, but the hype has just begun.

Danica Patrick will finally reveal Thursday that she's coming to NASCAR on a full-time basis in 2012. Patrick is expected to announce her plans at the Arizona headquarters of sponsor

Patrick will be "putting the rumors to rest with the real story in her own words," according to a Go Daddy press release. The announcement will take place at noon Eastern/9 a.m. Pacific time and will be streamed online at

What will she announce? As has been widely reported, Patrick will reveal that she's driving a full season for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series – with the possible exception of running the Indy 500 – and may also unveil her partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.

Patrick can run seven races in the Cup Series next season without losing her rookie of the year eligibility for a possible full-season Cup run in 2013.


Dale Earnhardt Jr.: I'm Focused On Racing, Not Danica Patrick Negotiations

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."


Danica Patrick Moving To NASCAR Full-Time, According To Report

ESPN is reporting that Danica Patrick will formally announce her intent to move to NASCAR full-time in 2012 next week, according to sources.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. At Pocono Raceway: No News On Danica Patrick Racing Full-Time For JR Motorsports

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."


Danica Patrick Remains Coy About NASCAR Future

Unless you're skilled at reading between the lines, Danica Patrick said little about her NASCAR future on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

Patrick, widely speculated to be making a full-time move to NASCAR next season, said she still doesn't know if it'll happen yet.

"Obviously I'm racing in NASCAR (part-time) and I've not made anyone wonder whether I like it," she said. "But other than that, as I've said from the beginning of the year, these things are complicated and they take time.

"Whether I'm coming here or not has yet to be signed, sealed and delivered. And I might not be. Only time will tell, and that timeline on my time of things...I'm really not sure."

So basically, it's still up in the air. But Patrick did reveal that she's the one who will ultimately make the decision – not her representatives.

"It comes down to my gut and my desire and where I feel like I'll be the happiest and where I feel like I'll be able to have the most success," she said. "And then after that, my team explores the options. But it always starts with where I want to be."

Will the potential sale of GoDaddy – who sponsors Patrick – affect her future? Patrick said everything, including the sale itself, is speculation.

"You all know how that stuff works," she said playfully. "You're like the kings and queens of (speculation) in here."

And if GoDaddy was sold?

"I don't know," she said. "It might not change anything; it might change everything. I'm not really sure."

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