Earnhardt team will not allow Danica to race in Indy 500
I got to talk to Kelley Earnhardt, co-owner of JR Motorsports, the other day. She’s among the most powerful women in the NASCAR. We talked about a variety of subjects and here’s what she said:
Q: Are you set with Danica to run fulltime next year for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series.
KELLEY: “I don’t know of her plans yet because we haven’t been able to work thorough anything or work with them on it. My hope is that she is in NASCAR fulltime and is back with JR Motorsports. As far as running Cup with her, we’re happy being a Nationwide team and probably not going to cross that bridge and let her explore options somewhere else with that. Definitely hope she’s back at JRM fulltime next year.
Q: Would you have an issue if she was running Nationwide for you next year that she also ran in the Indianapolis 500?
KELLEY: “No. The Indy 500 runs right in the middle of Charlotte, so, we would definitely want her to contend fulltime for the championship, and I think she would too. That’s something she has to decide. If she’s going to come over and run, she’s going to do all 35 races not 34.
Q: By the end of the year Danica will have run, in essence, less than a full season’s worth of Nationwide races over the past two years. Where do you see her in her development?
KELLEY: “Tony Jr. and the guys could speak better than that. In terms of what I see and what I get to talk to Tony about, she is great with her dialogue about the car, what the car is doing, and the feeling of the car and everything. I think when she gets to the race track, it takes her a little bit to get up to speed, especially after she comes back from this break from IndyCars. I think once she gets in there consistently week in and week out, it will just come to her with a snap of the finger. She’s done well. She’s posted some of our best finishes this year for JR Motorsports. She’s certainly rivaled Aric (Almirola) and other people within our organization for some top finishes, so she’s done a good job. I think she’s a good 10th- to 15th-place driver right now and with just the limited races she has under her belt, I think that’s good.’’ Hampton Roads