At a press conference at GoDaddy.com headquarters in Phoenix, Danica Patrick confirmed part of the long-expected news about her future, but left some of it still to be revealed.
Patrick will indeed contest the full NASCAR Nationwide Series with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports team next season, as well as a limited run of Sprint Cup Series races with Tony Stewart's Stewart-Haas Racing team. She will also end her long association with Andretti Autosport in IndyCars. However, the specifics of her Cup schedule remain to be ironed out, as does the possibility of her continuing to race at the Indianapolis 500.
"I am excited GoDaddy will take me full-time into NASCAR next year in Nationwide with JR Motorsports, and a partial schedule in Sprint Cup with Stewart-Haas," said Patrick. "They've been with me since '07, and took me to NASCAR. The first ARCA race was the most fun I had ever had in a racecar. It probably had to do with the bumping. I'm excited to start the next chapter in my life."
Although some media reports have claimed that Patrick will make her Sprint Cup debut with the Daytona 500, that has yet to be decided, according to Patrick.
"We're definitely considering that," she said of a possible Daytona debut. "Right now the Sprint Cup schedule is not set. Should be about 8-10 races, but that's not set. It's a long and complicated process."
Asked whether she feels she still has unfinished business in IndyCars, Patrick said, "I would have loved to have won every race, but that's hard to do. It was great to win at Motegi in Japan [in 2008]. I'll always remember that. The season is not over yet, there is time to win more."
While Andretti Autosport put out an announcement indicating her association with the team would end in 2011, Danica said she was leaving Indy 500 options open for next year.
"Still uncertain about that right now," she said of the 500. "As I said, the schedule itself is still in the works, but there's nothing to tell on that right now. "
GoDaddy.com boss Bob Parsons indicated that his company intended to remain in IndyCars in some fashion, saying there would be a separate announcement about that on Friday.
"We believe IndyCar is very important to us," Parsons said. "We cut our teeth in racing there, Danica's been excellent. With IndyCar's CEO, Randy Bernard, we're encouraged with the changes he's made to make the circuit more exciting. That being the case, we're looking to stick with IndyCar. We'll be making a special announcement in connection with that."
Patrick denied that the rationale for her move came down to money: "If it was about money, I would have gone a long time ago. I just go with where my heart/gut tells me to go, where I can have the most success."
Michael Andretti, president and CEO of Andretti Autosport, said in a statement that he wishes Patrick nothing but the best in her upcoming endeavors and that she is always welcomed to come back to his organization.
"Danica enjoyed the most success ever by a female driver in the world of motorsports and was a leading marketing force within IndyCar," said Andretti. "I wish her only continued success in her career. I want to thank Danica for her valued time with our team. "
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard issued a statement about Patrick's pending departure from the series, saying: "Danica has always been a great ambassador for IndyCar, and there is no doubt she has left a positive impression on our sport. She has touched millions of fans and many that were new to motorsports. Danica attracted a fan base that every athlete and sports property in the world would love to have. We should give her a great farewell the rest of this season as she opens a new page in her career and wish her continued success with her new direction."