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Danica Patrick close to announcing full-time Nationwide Series deal

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

Danica Patrick will race full-time for JR Motorsports in NASCAR's Nationwide Series next year, according to multiple Internet reports.

An announcement is expected next week in Phoenix, where Patrick's sponsor,, is based. The initial announcement of Patrick's foray into NASCAR racing took place in Dec. 2009 in the Rotunda at Chase Field in Phoenix.

According to a report by ESPN, Patrick, 29, also will run selected Sprint Cup events in cars prepared by Stewart-Haas Racing, with plans to run a full Cup schedule in 2013. Contractual details are still being finalized, according to the report.

Team owner Tony Stewart hasn't confirmed or denied whether he's negotiating with Patrick on a possible Cup ride.

"Can't say anything," Stewart said Aug. 5 at Pocono. At a "Smoke Show" charity appearance Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway, Stewart told reporters, "I don't have an IndyCar team, I don't have a Nationwide team," when he was asked whether he was interested in hiring Patrick.

Stewart, of course, does have a Cup team.

After debuting with a 13-race Nationwide schedule in 2010, Patrick has run six events in the series so far this year, with her top finish a fourth at Las Vegas-the best result ever for a female driver in any of NASCAR's top three national touring series.

Patrick currently competes full-time in the IndyCar Series. She is 12th in the series standings through 13 events this year.