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Danica sets her NASCAR schedule...but leaves Daytona 300 up for debate, after her ARCA debut

  With this series of NASCAR events, at some of stock car racing's toughest tracks, Danica Patrick's future on this side of the sport should be quickly clear (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Indy-car star Danica Patrick finally has a firm NASCAR schedule for the upcoming Nationwide season, with at least 12 stock car races on tap, maybe 13.
   And it's quite an ambitious series of events.
   Kelley Earnhardt, co-owner of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports operation, which Patrick will drive for, made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
   The big question is will Patrick run in the Feb. 13th Nationwide tour opener at Daytona.
   She has filed an entry, but she won't make a decision on that race until she sees how she does in the Feb. 6th ARCA 200.
   Confirmed: NASCAR Nationwide events at Los Angeles' Auto Club Speedway Feb. 20th, at Las Vegas Feb. 27th, at Loudon, N.H., June 26th, Chicago July 9th, Michigan August 14th, Dover Sept. 25th, the LA track again Oct. 9th, Charlotte Oct. 15th, St. Louis' Gateway Oct. 23rd, Texas Nov. 6th, Phoenix Nov. 13th, and Homestead-Miami Nov. 20th.
   Patrick: "We just want to be smart and calculative about this process. 
   "The tracks we've selected not only compliment the Indy-car schedule but will give me quality seat time at a variety of facilities."
    If Patrick doesn't run the Daytona 300, teammate Kelly Bires will get the nod.
    Kelley Earnhardt, who is being given the public point role on Patrick's NASCAR game plan, says "We want to give Danica the best opportunity to compete at Daytona, and that includes making sure she is 100 percent comfortable in that driver's seat.
    "The Nationwide race there is perhaps the most competitive race of the year.  Once the ARCA race is complete, we will get with Danica and make a decision based on the best interests of her, the team, and our sponsor."
    Patrick's crew chief will be long-time Earnhardt veteran Tony Eury Jr.
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I'm already sick of hearing

I'm already sick of hearing about Danica and the season hasn't even started.

Well, uh, yes. And who knows

Well, uh, yes. And who knows where this thing will go when she signs on with a real PR operation. So far her PR people have been real klutzy with most of this NASCAR stuff.
At least she's not shying away from the tough tracks. I cant wait to see what she thinks about Vegas, Texas and Phoenix....and California Speedway looks a lot different in a stock car than in an Indy car.
So, what -- you want us to write some more Jimmie Johnson stories? (LOL)

I've been reading about how

I've been reading about how excited tracks like Loudon and Dover are over the prospects of having the Danica Patrick Show come to their venue. Danica has raced in the Indycar Series for a couple of years and has failed to fill the stands at any of their events. Why would these tracks think that there is a groundswell of interest from the fans to see her in the Nationwide Series? The Nationwide Series, by the way, cannot draw a crowd when the very best of the Cup stars are performing at these events so why would they think she will fill the stands? A lot of hype for a racing "star" who has one a single fuel mileage event during her entire Indycar career in a series that usually has about 20 starters for each event.

Hype? NASCAR? LOL. Of course.

Hype? NASCAR? LOL. Of course. It should be interesting at least. Aren't you at least a little curious as to how she's going to handle the slam-draft at Daytona? Curious that NASCAR says it will be giving drivers a freer hand out on the track, without risk of penalty, this season too. I too have been getting a bit over it with the hype....but I have the feeling she's going to be a little more feisty out on the track than we may be expecting.

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