Kelley Earnhardt says Danica Patrick is ‘on board’ for another NASCAR seasonBy Jenna Fryer, AP
Friday, August 20, 2010
Danica Patrick expected to run NASCAR again in ‘11
BRISTOL, Tenn. — JR Motorsports expects to field a Nationwide Series car next season for Danica Patrick.
JRM co-owner Kelley Earnhardt said Friday she’s waiting for the IndyCar schedule to be released to determine how many races Patrick will drive in NASCAR. She’s running a 13-race schedule this year for JRM that is built around her IndyCar commitments.
Patrick has a career-best finish of 24th at Chicago last month through her six races so far. Her average finish is 30.5.
“I think she’s definitely had a difficult year getting used to these cars from where she’s came from,” Earnhardt said. “I think still everyone has to keep in check that she’s ran six Nationwide races and pretty much six stock car races in her career. She’s still very fresh and new at this and still has a lot to learn about the way these cars work.”
Earnhardt also said her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will run between four and six Nationwide Series races next season in the No. 7 Chevrolet that Patrick drives. Josh Wise is another candidate to fill that seat when Patrick is not racing.
“Josh has done very well for us and kept the car in the top 20 of the owner’s points and hasn’t put a scratch on our car that I can recall,” Kelley Earnhardt said. “He’s done what we’ve asked him to do and we’re just going to continue to allow him, I think he’s got three or four more races for the rest of the year, and evaluate what’s going on there.
“Depending on how the sponsorship falls out for the remainder of that car will depend on who will drive that car, but we really enjoy working with Josh.”
JRM announced this week that Aric Almirola will drive the team’s flagship No. 88 in the Nationwide Series next season.
The car does not have full sponsorship yet, but GT Vodka has signed up for 15 of next year’s 34 Nationwide races. Kelley Earnhardt said Unilever could fill in a bulk of the remaining races.
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