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Question of the Day
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - 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 opportunities are.”
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