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08/20/11
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Earnhardt says Patrick already successful in NASCAR
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was noncommittal on reports that Danica Patrick will race full time for his JR Motorsports Nationwide Series team next year, but he has been impressed with Patrick’s performance on the track.

An announcement of Patrick’s plans for 2012 is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Wednesday, according to the reports. The announcement is expected to be made in Phoenix.

“There ain’t been no announcement yet, so I don’t know why you would go report that,” Earnhardt said Friday at Michigan International Speedway, when asked about Patrick’s status. “We’ve enjoyed working with her and would love to keep working with her. When there’s something to announce, they’ll announce it, and we’ll just wait until that happens, I guess.”

Though Patrick has but one top five (fourth at Las Vegas in March) and three top 10s in 19 Nationwide starts over the past two seasons, Earnhardt said she has made significant progress since her debut at Daytona in February 2010.

“I think what she’s accomplished already has been success, in my opinion,” Earnhardt said. “She obviously would want to continue to improve and compete for wins and win races. It’s tough to learn new cars, to learn a new vehicle and be able to drive it well and do well in it and adapt to it. I think she’s done that.

“She’s awesome about it, and she’s really done a great job. She seems like she’s fun to work with, and no matter whether you’re a man or woman, people have to be able to get along with you, and you have to be able to be a people person and manage people and manage relationships. She seems to do a great job of that. Sporting News

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