Danica takes to top Nascar series

2011-11-07 08:27

Danica Patrick will make her Sprint Cup debut in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February 2012, her first of 10 races in Nascar's highest division.

Her limited Cup schedule and Patrick's new green No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet were unveiled Friday at Texas.

Team co-owner Tony Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing said the team is set on eight of Patrick's 10 races. Her second scheduled race will be May 12, 2012, at Darlington, with the other six already set coming late in the season.

Stewart said the particular races were picked as part of the learning curve.


"The big thing is just keeping in mind it's a learning year next year," Stewart said. "It's an aggressive schedule and an ambitious one for somebody that hasn't been in a Cup car yet, but at the same time, to compete at this level, you're going to have to be good at these tracks."

Danica Patrick

OLD #7: Danica Patrick races during the Nascar Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, 2011, in Fort Worth, Texas.

The determination on the other two races will be made based on what kind of progress Patrick makes and if there is particular venue or style of track where more laps would be beneficial.

Patrick also will run a full Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports in her transition from IndyCar to Nascar full-time.


The plan is for Patrick possibly being ready to run the full Cup schedule in 2013.

"I'm excited. There's a lot I'm worried for, but on the other hand, as I've kind of felt with my Nationwide races ... (at) more difficult tracks expectation levels sometimes are not quite as high and you have the ability to make mistakes," she said. "That's the plan. There's going to be mistakes and there's going to be learning curves, and get that out of the way before we try and do this full time and really try and put it together."

Stewart expressed confidence about Patrick making her Cup debut at Daytona based on the Nationwide Series race there in July, when she finished 10th, three spots ahead of him.