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Danica back in Nationwide for Chicago
3 June 2011
Danica Patrick returns for the STP 300 night time race at Chicagoland Speedway this Saturday evening, for the next appearance on her limited Nationwide schedule fitting around her IndyCar season commitments.
Danica has been experiencing some highs and lows of late, with the lowest point definitely being the moment that it looked like Bump Day qualifying at Indianapolis might be rained out before she'd had the chance to make the 33-car starting grid for the centennial event last Sunday.
Fortunately for IndyCar she did and she even ran ten laps in the lead toward the end until forced to pit for fuel. The weekend once again proved what a powerful asset her invaluable star power is for the series.
But everywhere she went at Indianapolis, she was besieged with questions about whether she was about to announce a switch to a full-time NASCAR drive in 2012. Many media experts even suggest that an announcement of a switch is imminent and could even be made at this week's Nationwide event at Chicago.
The intense media furore wasn't helped when the CEO of her main personal sponsor, GoDaddy.com, weighed in with some pretty unequivocal advice for her on the matter.
"She hasn't told me she will, but I believe she will and we'll be ready," Bob Parsons told ESPN at the weekend. "Here's the fact: She loves it, it's much more exciting than IndyCar with all due respect, and the TV audience for NASCAR is off the hook.
"The races she's in now in Nationwide, whether in front or in the back, it's still fantastic for us. I've had people tell me, 'I'm going to start watching NASCAR to see Danica.' She is the one person that America roots for. America loves her ... She's edgy like we are, and a little inappropriate like we are."
Parsons said that the company he runs and which he founded would always support Danica no matter what she decided to do. "I tell you what, she doesn't exactly work for minimum wage!" he said. "But I've told her I would sponsor her if she started ice skating."
"I think you know the answer to that," Parsons replied: "Sure we will."
Asked about Parson's comments, Danica herself continued to insist that no decisions about her 2012 direction had been made yet.
"We're just evaluating," she insisted. "I don't have to worry about that stuff at this point. Once things get to a critical point where they need my decision-making, that's what we'll do, but I think at this point in time it's still pretty early stages."
Where previously the switch had been assumed to be a formality, it seems that the Month of May at Indianapolis might have tugged her back in the IndyCar direction.
"Every time I've been to Indy it makes me want to be back even more," she said. "I was saying after the race that every time I come and I don't win, I get more mad every time.
"I think you just realize how close it can be so many times and that's what, I think, makes so many people want to come back to Indy."
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