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Report: Danica Patrick headed to NASCAR Nationwide Series full time in 2012

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick

Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service 

Danica Patrick could be racing full time in NASCAR as soon as next season, ESPN.com reported Tuesday.

Patrick is in her second season of driving part time in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. She started 13 races in 2010 and is scheduled to make at least 12 starts in 2011.

Patrick would race full time in the Nationwide Series in 2012, but her deal still will allow her to race in the Indianapolis 500, the website reported.

Patrick, who is in the final year of her IndyCar Series contract with Andretti Autosport, said last week a move to NASCAR full time was not out of the question.

"I suppose anything is possible," she said Thursday when asked if this would be her seventh and final Indy 500. "But I know I haven't made any of those decisions yet."

Patrick, 29, has been driving full time in IndyCar since 2005. She has one win, in 2008 at Motegi, Japan, and will start 25th in Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

Sources told ESPN.com Patrick would race full time in the Cup series in 2013 after entering several Cup races in 2012.

JR Motorsports is a joint venture with Hendrick Motorsports, but Hendrick fields the maximum number of drivers allowed by NASCAR in the Sprint Cup Series with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Earnhardt. Martin is in the final season of his contract with Hendrick and will be replaced by Kasey Kahne in 2012.

Details on which team will field a car for Patrick in 2012 have not been finalized, sources told the website.