"For breaking news that will shock the world," she acknowledged with a wry smile, "I'm excited to finally be able to finally say it ... We can finally put the rumours to rest; I am going full-time NASCAR next year."

With the announcement that Danica Patrick is to move to NASCAR in 2012 with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports, and confirmation from Andretti Autosport that Danica was to leave that team at the end of the current IndyCar season, her current team boss Michael Andretti has issued a statement wishing her every success in her new venture.

"I want to thank Danica for her valued time with our team," said Andretti in a team press release. "Danica enjoyed the most success ever by a female driver in the world of motorsports and was a leading marketing force within IndyCar ... I wish her only continued success in her career."

Speaking at the press conference in Phoenix, Arizona where she made her announcement, Danica said that "I'll miss some of the venues" in the IndyCar series - presumably not meaning the road courses to which she has publicly objected in recent months. "Some of the people for sure," she added.

"I hope I don't lose fans who have been awesome supporters of mine and cheered through thick and thin ... I don't know if the fans will continue to follow me, but I hope so. Fans followed me for a long time in IndyCar."

There is still the question of whether or not Danica will attempt a one-off return to IndyCar to compete in next year's Indianapolis 500.

While asserting that it was still "the greatest race in the world" and that she would "love to continue," Danica said that this was "still uncertain" and would depend on how the schedule for the coming year pans out.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard issued a statement after the Phoenix press conference, saying: "We should give her a great farewell the rest of this season as she opens a new page in her career and wish her continued success with her new direction.

"Danica has always been a great ambassador for IndyCar, and there is no doubt she has left a positive impression on our sport. She has touched millions of fans and many that were new to motorsports. Danica attracted a fan base that every athlete and sports property in the world would love to have."

For Andretti, there is also the outstanding matter of the personal sponsorship money that Danica has brought in from her association with GoDaddy.com that has allowed the team to run a four-car operation this year.

"Andretti Autosport ... plans to announce the status of longtime sponsor GoDaddy.com in the near future," said the team press release.

GoDaddy.com's CEO Bob Parsons, speaking at the Danica press conference, said that "We believe IndyCar is very important for us," and added: "We're looking to stick with IndyCar and tomorrow we are going to make a special announcement in connection with that."