Ending months of speculation Danica Patrick has announced that she is moving from the IndyCar circuit to join NASCAR full-time in 2012. She will run a full Nationwide schedule with JR Motorsports and as many as ten Sprint Cup races for Stewart-Hass Racing.
Speaking at a press conference, in her former sponsor Go Daddy’s offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, she said “I've truly enjoyed my experience in NASCAR, to the point that I want to do it full-time”.
In 2008 Patrick became the first woman to win an IndyCar race. She has also driven a limited schedule on NASCAR’s minor-league circuit since 2009.
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Also in 2009 Danica Patrick became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and finished a career-best fifth in the IndyCar standing. Currently she’s sitting at 12th with seven top-ten finishes. This season she’s posted three top-ten finishes with a career best fourth at Las Vegas in March.
In the past Danica Patrick has been criticized about her commitment to the sport. Some say that she’s more interested in racy photo shoots than racing but NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip, who is an analyst for FOX, thinks Patrick will pull this move off and show her critics.
He told AP "I've been waiting for Danica to make the commitment to NASCAR and now that she has, I believe she will surprise a lot of skeptics. She is a very focused driver and now without the distractions of another series she can put all her efforts into it.”
Owner of Stewart-Hass, Tony Stewart said “The thing you see in Danica right away is how determined she is to be good at what she does.”
Here’s a clip from FOX of the press conference: