Patrick told The Indianapolis Star on Friday that negotiations with Stewart Haas Racing and companies interested in sponsoring the No. 10 Chevrolet are in the works.
Patrick’s car is losing its GoDaddy sponsorship at season’s end.
“We’re negotiating everything from the sponsor to the driving contract and everything," Patrick said at Kentucky Speedway, site of Saturday’s Sprint Cup Series race. “It’s a work in progress."
Patrick, 33, is completing her fourth Sprint Cup season with the team co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas. Race results haven’t come as nicely as the group wants — she has six top-10 finishes in 99 races and is 21st in points this season — but she’s still excited about coming to tracks each week.
She especially feels comfortable with SHR, which also fields the cars oof reigning series champion Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Stewart. Harvick and Busch have two wins each this season and are therefore already eligible for the championship-deciding Chase.
“I want to be here," Patrick said of SHR. “I really like where I’m at and have worked really hard here. I’ve worked harder than I ever have in my career to understand things, learn things, develop relationships and really find a home.
“So, I don’t want anything to change."
Patrick said the difference in the performances of the SHR cars stems from the fact each crew chief is allowed to make his own chassis decision. That includes everything from chassis setup to scheduling wind tunnel testing.
It’s worth noting that Busch is fourth in points essentially with the Tony Gibson-led crew Patrick had last year.
“It’s frustrating," Patrick said watching two SHR cars excel while she and Stewart have combined for only three top-10 finishes. “But it’s also a positive because it’s there somewhere. It’s all possible. It’s a matter of putting it together."
One thing Patrick won’t be putting together is a ride for next year’s Indianapolis 500, an anticipated event given it will be the 100th running.
An IndyCar Series driver for seven seasons (2005-11), Patrick said she stopped thinking about returning to the 500 in 2012 after Greg Zipadelli, SHR’s vice president of competition, said part-time open-wheel racing would take away from her full-time job.
“He said it would make people question where my heart lies and what my interests are and I said, ‘OK, fine,’ " she said. “I told my managers to stop trying."
She hasn’t looked back.
“I thought about it a lot in the beginning (of her move to NASCAR), but I don’t now," she said. “That’s fine.
“Honestly, I think I saw how much back and forth it was for Kurt (Busch) to do it (last year), and it looked exhausting. I’m still trying to figure out the stock cars and it takes all my attention and time.
“I’m not exactly a spring chicken, so it’s not like I can afford to take years of running around and gallivanting. I need to figure out what I’m doing here. I’ve run (the 500), so it’s not like it’s something I need to do. I ran it many times and had great races. I didn’t win it, but I had a couple of great chances. I’m grateful for that."
Patrick had six top-10 finishes in seven 500s, finishing third in 2009 and fourth as a rookie in 2005. She combined to lead 29 laps in those two races. Indy Star/Curt Cavin