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Danica: 'I want more racing'

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Feb. 07, 2010

How did former IndyCar star Danica Patrick think her stock car racing debut went over the weekend?

Let her tell you: “I want more racing,” she said.

As expected, Patrick officially announced Monday she was jump-starting her debut in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and will compete in the series season opener Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

“Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do,” she said. “The ARCA race was a blast, and I’m not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet.”

Patrick finished sixth Saturday in the Automobile Racing Club of America series opener at Daytona in her stock car racing debut. Nationwide practice begins Wednesday at Daytona.

When Patrick announced her partnership with JR Motorsports to run a limited Nationwide schedule this season, she originally picked the Feb. 20 race at Auto Club Speedway of California to make her debut.

“I think Danica proved to everyone that she can compete in stock cars at a high level, and right now seat time is extremely important,” JRM co-owner Kelley Earnhardt said.

Patrick’s decision, however, means JRM driver Kelly Bires will not have a car to compete in the Nationwide opener. Team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to drive the team’s No. 88 which left Bires with a chance to drive the No. 7 if Patrick didn’t run the race.

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