Patrick committs to 4 Nationwide races in 2011
JR Motorsports locked in Danica Patrick for the first four
Nationwide Series races of 2011, and the rest of her schedule will
depend on her IndyCar commitments.
Team co-owner Kelley Earnhardt said Friday that Patrick will run
at Daytona, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Bristol next season. It will be
her first trip to Bristol’s .533-mile bullring.
”That will be kind of neat for her to get to experience what
NASCAR is all about and that’s basically going around Bristol,”
said crew chief Tony Eury Jr.
Patrick will take a break from NASCAR after Bristol to
concentrate on the IndyCar schedule through the Indianapolis 500 in
May. She’ll then resume Nationwide racing that will be coordinated
with her IndyCar commitments.
Earnhardt said Patrick can run up to 14 races in the No. 7
Chevrolet, but the car will run the full season. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
is expected to run four races in the car.
”I know we’re all anxious to get the whole schedule put in
place, but I’m extremely excited to be able to confirm our
participation in the first four races,” Patrick said. ”We’ll have
four extremely challenging and unique races to start our 2011
season, and I’m anxious to return to a lot of those tracks with at
least a little bit of familiarity.”
Patrick said she knows at some point next season she’ll have to
make a decision about her commitment to NASCAR. The race Friday
night at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the ninth of 13 scheduled
Nationwide races this season.
She ended the IndyCar season two weeks ago, finishing 10th in
the final standings.
”We haven’t made all of those decisions, 2012 is a little up in
the air and it depends on the opportunities, where I could run,
what Kelley is doing, what’s happening at JR Motorsports, what’s
happening on the sponsorship side,” Patrick said. ”If something
doesn’t come together, I’d run IndyCar. There’s a lot of things up
in the air right now. We’ll see where my heart goes and where the