Danica’s dilemma? Earnhardt Jr. says talks between Patrick, JR Motorsports in “early stages

Friday, October 9, 2009

Earnhardt would welcome Patrick in NASCAR

FONTANA, Calif. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he’d love to see good friend Danica Patrick in NASCAR, but isn’t sure when — or even if — the IndyCar star will make the transition to stock car racing.

Patrick and Kelley Earnhardt, general manager of JR Motorsports, have had preliminary talks about Patrick racing in the Nationwide Series, but Earnhardt Jr. said any discussions were in the “early stages.”

“Right now it’s just Kelley and her having a few phone conversations about it and really haven’t gotten any further about it,” Earnhardt said.

Patrick has reportedly agreed to remain in IndyCar with Andretti Green Racing but hasn’t ruled out running some stock car races in the future. She’s currently fifth in the IndyCar Series standings heading into the season finale at Homestead.

She has repeatedly declined to reveal anything about her plans for 2010 and beyond in recent days, including after IndyCar qualifying at Homestead on Friday. She chided a reporter for asking about her future and immediately walked away.

“It’s interesting to see her interest in NASCAR, it’s interesting for all of us,” Earnhardt said. “If we’re a piece of that, if we play a part in that, we’ll see down the road.”

Earnhardt has little doubt Patrick could successfully make the jump from open-wheel racing to stock cars, saying her competitiveness would be an asset in the series.

“She has high expectations of herself,” he said. “She has a lot of those intangible values. There’s a lot of things around herself when it comes to initiative and will power that you either have it or you don’t have it.

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