By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Despite persistent rumors that have Danica Patrick in NASCAR racing as a full-time Nationwide Series driver next year, Patrick herself says a deal isn't done.
Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, she also left open a possible return to the IndyCar Series, where Patrick is running a full schedule this year while competing in selected Nationwide races."Obviously, I'm racing in NASCAR, and I've not made anyone wonder whether or not I like it," said Patrick, who will make her sixth Nationwide start of the season in Friday's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona. "Other than that, these things-as I've said from the beginning of the year-are complicated, and they take time.
"Whether I'm coming here or not is yet to be signed, sealed and delivered-and might not be. Only time will tell, and that timeline on my side of things is. ... I'm really not sure. All I know is that I just am told that I have a job to do in the car, and 'You do your job and we'll do our job,' and they fill me in from time to time, but it's still only July."
Patrick did say that the impetus for her decision will come from personal preference.
"It comes down to my gut and my desire and where I feel like I'll be the happiest and where I feel like I'll be able to have the most success, and then from those thoughts, my team explores the options," she said. "But it always starts with where I want to be."
Patrick, who scraped the wall in Thursday's rain-shortened practice session at Daytona, posted her best Nationwide finish to date March 5 at Las Vegas, where she ran fourth-the best-ever result for a female driver in any of NASCAR's top three national series.