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Patrick does not rule out NASCAR switch
Danica Patrick's visit to the Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway two weeks ago was more about seeing friends than putting out feelers.

But aside from renewing ties with former Indy Racing League peers Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr., Patrick's Phoenix appearance as a guest of Roush Fenway Racing also could mark a step toward establishing new relationships in stock-car racing — perhaps with Jack Roush, who admitted officials from his powerhouse Cup team spoke to Patrick at Phoenix.

NASCAR still remains a possibility for Patrick in the wake of becoming the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel event.

"The door has never been shut," she said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "I've learned too well over the last six to eight years, you can't say anything is a never. Saying never is a very strong word, and if you do enough interviews and say that word, it really lives."

Patrick, 26, had a brief flirtation with leaving Indy cars to race NASCAR in the summer of 2006 while in the final season of her contract with Rahal Letterman Racing. She signed with Andretti Green Racing for the 2007 season in a multiyear deal whose terms weren't disclosed.

But SPEEDTV.com reported that Patrick's primary sponsor, Motorola, signed a contract for 2007-09, and driver contracts often run concurrently with their sponsors. That could put the IRL's most popular star up for bidding again in 2010, and Patrick won't rule out considering NASCAR again.

"Yes, I'm knee deep in Indy car," she said. "But when your contract time comes, anyone would be foolish not to explore options that are relevant. You have to go where you feel you have the best chance to win and the most opportunities and where you feel your heart is."

Patrick's heart currently is firmly in the IRL, where she's been the face of the series for three years since becoming the first female driver to lead the Indianapolis 500 in 2005. USA Today
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