Tony Stewart says Danica Patrick is serious about NASCAR racing, but don't expect to see her in the Sprint Cup Series any time soon.
Patrick, who is in the final year of her contract with Andretti Green Racing in the IndyCar Series, visited Stewart-Haas Racing on Monday. Stewart says she's using him as a sounding board as she analyses possible career moves.
"We're just trying to help her," Stewart said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "She's really come to us for a lot of advice about what to do. I think a lot of that is because she understands I went through the same transition that she went through, and we've known each other through different personal service deals that we've both had and some shows that we've done together where we had time to sit and talk.
"We just seemed to get along really well. I know she's talked to a lot of teams in NASCAR right now, and she's just trying to figure out what it is she wants to do, how she wants to go about it.
“I'm glad I can be there to have somebody for her to bounce ideas off of. I'd love to see her come. I think it would be awesome for our sport if she would come over here and come out here and be successful."
Stewart was firm in his belief that Patrick wants to try her hand at NASCAR racing and isn't using her interest in the sport as leverage to get a better deal in IndyCars.
"I know that she's serious about it," Stewart continued. "I know that that's what she wants to do. She looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Hey, this is what I want to do. It looks like fun - it looks like a lot of work, but it looks like fun.' I don't think she has some misguided idea that it's going to be easy doing it. She wants to do it the right way."
Stewart said the Nationwide Series would be the logical place to test the waters in stock car racing. Stewart-Haas does not have a Nationwide programme and will not add a third Cup team for 2010, Stewart said.
"She wants to know how to make the transition, I think, more than anything," Stewart added. "She's trying to put together her IRL deal and trying to figure out how to transition that into NASCAR.
“I think she's trying to do it the right way. She's not just cutting the cord and then all of a sudden jumping into a car that she's unfamiliar with."
by Reid Spencer / Sporting News