December 8, 2009 / 8:11 PM / 10 years ago

Motor racing-Patrick to race part-time in Nationwide Series

PHOENIX, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Danica Patrick ended months of speculation when she announced on Tuesday a deal to race part-time in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.

The only woman to win an IndyCar race will suit up for JR Motorsports, a team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick.

“I’m finally able to talk about it and I want to show you the car,” Patrick, 27, told reporters before unveiling her green and orange No. 7 Chevrolet Impala.

“I’m very excited we’ve all been working hard to bring this together.”

Her first stock car event will be on Feb. 6 in an ARCA series race at Daytona. ARCA is a minor league, with NASCAR-type cars.

The Nationwide Series is a stepping stone to the Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s senior series.

Patrick recently announced a multi-year renewal of her IndyCar contract with Andretti Autosport. She will try to schedule her NASCAR races when they are not in conflict with her IndyCar commitments.

“We’re not 100 percent sure of all the details as IndyCar is the primary focus,” said Patrick.

Her IndyCar owner, former driver Michael Andretti, told Reuters he supported her decision to go to NASCAR but added: “IndyCar is still her main focus because our goals are to win the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar championship.”

NASCAR stock cars are more than twice as heavy as the IndyCars, which Patrick has raced since 2005 when she became the fourth woman to compete in the Indy 500. She won the IRL race in Japan in April 2008.

Editing by Justin Palmer; To query or comment on this story

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