Danica Patrick has announced that she will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010, having agreed a two-year deal with JR Motorsports.
Patrick, the IndyCar Series' most popular driver, held a press conference on Tuesday morning and while details were somewhat sketchy, here is what we know following that 40-minute session, where JRM co-owner Kelley Earnhardt and GoDaddy.com founder and CEO Bob Parsons unveiled the #7 Chevrolet that Patrick will drive in a limited number of Nationwide races in 2010:
* Patrick will make her stock car racing debut in the ARCA race February 6 at Daytona International Speedway, the day before the NFL Super Bowl. To prepare for that event, Patrick will participate in an ARCA test December 18-20 at Daytona.
* Most of Patrick's Nationwide races will be bookended around her IndyCar season, which begins March 14 in Brazil and ends October 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
* Web hosting provider GoDaddy.com will sponsor Patrick in the races she runs.
* Tony Eury Jr., former Sprint Cup crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a JRM co-owner with Kelley Earnhardt, Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, will serve as Patrick's crew chief.
Beyond that, plans are vague. Still to be worked out are Patrick's Nationwide debut, her entire Nationwide schedule (probably 10-12 races), and where and when she will test after December. 20. The unanswered questions, however, didn't dull the luster of Patrick's flamboyant foray into a realm where the cars aren't as fragile as they are in the open-wheel ranks.
"I think my determination and commitment are really going to be what makes this thing go well," said Patrick, who arrived at the press conference as the "GoDaddy Girl," wearing her familiar zippered GoDaddy outfit and black gladiator heels.
After the formal portion of the news conference, Patrick admitted she'll feel the pressure to perform in her new role as a stock car driver.
"I'm a competitive driver, and I always want to do well, and this will be absolutely no different," she said. "In fact, there's no reason to think it'll be any less (pressure). There's going to be a lot of people watching, and there's been speculation for a long time about it.
"I will approach this just like I do every other race that I go to, and I'll give it my all."