Danica serious about move to NASCAR Danica and Dale Jr. What a sponsor’s match made in heaven. It must have left GoDaddy.com feeling like a proud papa this week when reports surfaced that Danica Patrick, whose IndyCar Series ride with Andretti Green Racing is sponsored by GoDaddy, was close to signing a two-year deal to drive a limited Nationwide Series schedule next season for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s. JR Motorsports team.
With GoDaddy, of course, as the primary sponsor.
After recently signing a three-year extension with Andretti Green through 2012, Patrick seems intent on pursuing an exploration into NASCAR by joining Earnhardt’s team, which had a seat available because Brad Keselowski signed a Sprint Cup deal with Penske Racing to replace David Stremme in the No. 12 Dodge.
“She’s really serious about coming to NASCAR,’’ Earnhardt told SceneDaily.com, who said there is competition for her services. “A lot of people, I guess, thought that it was just a media hoax or her kind of blowing smoke. She’s really serious about it, and she’s going to do it with somebody.’’
Although Patrick did have discussions with Michael Waltrip last month and with Tony Stewart earlier this year, it appears Earnhardt has emerged as the front-runner because of one important person: car owner Rick Hendrick, who met with Patrick and pledged his support for her program at JR Motorsports. That was a huge negotiating tool for Earnhardt’s sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who has spearheaded the negotiations, which intensified this week.
When Hendrick scored a coup two years ago by signing Earnhardt to a five-year contract, his star-studded collection of drivers - which includes four-time champion Jeff Gordon and reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, who is on the cusp of winning an unprecedented fourth in a row - were characterized as the New York Yankees of NASCAR.
Now, it appears Hendrick is swinging for the fences again. In helping Earnhardt position himself to sign the 27-year-old Patrick, Hendrick would be paving the way for her to move to Sprint Cup (when the circumstances are right) with his organization.
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