Originally posted by ESPN (sports.espn.go.com)Updated: September 5, 2009, 11:26 PM ET Source: Danica to try NASCAR in '10 By Ed Hinton ESPN.com
HAMPTON, Ga. -- Danica Patrick will "all but certainly" be in NASCAR in 2010, but won't give up Indy car racing and will limit next year's activity to the Nationwide Series and Trucks, according to a source very close to the situation.
Tony Stewart is the "star candidate" to be her partner and mentor in NASCAR, the source said, adding that Patrick's recent visits to Stewart-Haas Racing were much more than social -- that she and Stewart were discussing a deal, and are close to one.
"I can pretty much guarantee at some point she's going to be over here," Stewart told reporters Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, meaning NASCAR in general and hinting at something the source confirmed and clarified.
The plan is for Patrick to run a significant number of Nationwide races, with additional seat time in Trucks and ARCA cars. Stewart took a similar transitional path to NASCAR in 1998, running a full Indy car schedule and also 22 Nationwide (then Busch) races.
Patrick's likeliest first stock car race would be the ARCA event at Daytona during SpeedWeeks next February.
You kind of saw the writing on the wall a couple of weeks back when she visited the Stewart-Haas garage and getting to know the team members. It should be a great experiment. Thank you CRZ for posting this article and the NASCAR banners!
If she's still going to run the full Indy sked (and they are saying she will) then I think this is a great move and she is being much smarter about it than Hornish, Dario, AJ, and the other open-wheelers who have jumped to stock cars. (Of course, Scott Speed did a similar thing when he came over from F1, but they stuck him right into Cup after one season in ARCA with a few Truck races sprinkled in.)
If she *is* going to run the ARCA race at Speedweeks, I hope there is a way I can bet on it.
Holy fuck shit motherfucker shit. Read comics. Fuck shit shit fuck shit I sold out when I did my job. Fuck fuck fuck shit fuck. Sorry had to do it....
Revenge of the Sith = one thumb up from me. Fuck shit. I want to tittie fuck your ass. -- The Guinness. to Cerebus
Actually, this is a surprise - at least to the IRL people. I've been watching strangely high amounts of it this year (not recommended), and everyone seemed 99% sure she was sticking with Andretti/Green alone all of two races ago. And it's worth noting the interview is just interviews with Stewart, nothing from Danica. Tony could be right, or he could be overstating the conversation, or Danica could've just been overstating her interest.
Danica's in fifth in the IRL standings this year, which would be a personal best if she finishes out, but really hasn't been all that competitive to win many races - she just avoided DNFs better this year, and is on a second tier team. I don't know if the problem is as much her as IRL is more top heavy then the cast of your average adult movie - when you have people like Will Power saying they'd be happier running a part time schedule at one of the two top teams rather than a full time schedule anywhere else, there's way too big of a gap. It's tough to get a sense of how good a driver actually is when there's that big of a difference in the equipment.
My guess, more so before the last set of rumors, was that she was going to jump to one of the top two teams, and Penske makes more since she could stay in house and tryout NASCAR on some level. This looks a lot more complex. Even with some changes next year, there's plenty of off weeks on the IRL schedule to do other things, but racing 2-3 different vehicles for 2 different owners (and who knows how many different sponsors) seems like a sure recipe for problems.
I don't think IRL is in trouble in 2011 specifically if she's not there, but that's more because they've got a lot bigger issues.
Rankings after UFC on Fuel 9 - with the card taking place in Stockholm, notice the big influx of European folks making their debut on the voting panel - we'll see if they stick around... Here are the 72 making up the voting panel this time around: