FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 4, 2011) – Danica Patrick will be racing in next season’s AAA Texas 500 as part of her limited 10-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for the 2012 season with Stewart-Haas Racing, team co-owner Tony Stewart announced Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Patrick, a seven-year veteran of the IZOD IndyCar Series where she became the first woman in series history to win a race, is making the full transition to stock cars in 2012, competing in the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports and a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule for SHR.
Patrick’s Sprint Cup debut will come in the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 26 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Her remaining Sprint Cup races are as follows:
- May 12: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
- Aug. 25: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
- Sept. 2: Atlanta Motor Speedway
- Sept. 16: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
- Sept. 30: Dover (Del.) International Speedway
- Nov. 4: AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
- Nov. 11: Phoenix International Raceway
Two Sprint Cup races are to be determined, with the plan being to assess Patrick’s development in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series as the season progresses and then choose the remaining venues based on need and competitive reasoning.
“Our goal with Danica’s schedule is to try and maximize her 10 races with us so that she’s as prepared as she can possibly be for a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013,” said Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest machine tool manufacturer in the western world. “In the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, she’ll handle short tracks, intermediate 1.5-mile ovals, and some unique tracks like Darlington and Phoenix. The point is to expose her to as many challenges as possible so that she’ll know what to expect in 2013.
“Between our schedule and her full Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports, Danica will gain a lot of experience quickly. At the same time, we’ll monitor her progress, and if we feel there’s a particular venue or style of track where more seat time would be beneficial, we have two races where we can call an audible and enter her in those events.”
“There were a lot of reasons why Stewart-Haas Racing made sense for me, but probably the biggest reason was Tony Stewart,” Patrick added. “He’s already done what I’m trying to do – make the transition from open-wheel cars to stock cars. If there’s anyone who knows what I need to do and what I need to look out for, it’s him.”