Danica Patrick will compete in 12 NASCAR Nationwide Series races with the possibility of 13 in her debut season with JR Motorsports, co-owner and general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
The only event uncertain on Patrick's schedule is the Feb. 13 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet is entered in the event, but its driver will not be determined until after Patrick's race in Daytona's ARCA event on Feb. 6, in which she will also run a JR Chevy.
Beyond Daytona, Patrick's 2010 stock car campaign includes the Feb. 20 race at Auto Club Speedway and the Feb. 27 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Following Vegas, Patrick will take a four-month hiatus to focus on her IndyCar Series responsibilities before returning to drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in the Nationwide Series June 26 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The remainder of her schedule includes Nationwide races at Chicagoland Speedway (July 9), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 14), Dover International Speedway (Sept. 25), Auto Club Speedway (Oct. 9), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 15), Gateway International Raceway (Oct. 23), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 6), Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20).
“I'm thrilled to announce our 2010 Nationwide Series schedule,” said Patrick. “Like I've said before, we just want to be smart and calculative about this process. The tracks we've selected not only complement the IndyCar schedule, but will give me quality seat time at a variety of facilities.”
While Patrick's participation in the Daytona race remains to be determined, JR Motorsports will still field two cars for the Nationwide Series season opener. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet there in place of Kelly Bires in what is the first of two scheduled races for the JRM co-owner. Bires will return to the seat of the No. 88 Chevy the following week at Auto Club Speedway and could be called upon to drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet at Daytona, should Patrick not compete in that event.
“We want to give Danica the best opportunity to compete at Daytona, and that includes making sure she is 100 percent comfortable in that driver's seat,” Kelley Earnhardt said. “The Nationwide race there is perhaps the most competitive race of the year. Once the ARCA race is complete, we will get with Danica and make a decision based on the best interests of her, the team, and our sponsor Go Daddy. I'm extremely pleased with the working relationship between Danica and (crew chief) Tony Eury Jr. They are communicating well and working extremely hard in preparing for this season.”
GoDaddy.com will serve as primary sponsor for 10 of Patrick's 12 races in the No. 7 Chevrolet in 2010.