Danica Patrick will, officially, stay in the Indy Racing League. Patrick has signed a three-year contract extension with Andretti Green Racing , according to a report in the Indianapolis Star. She reportedly will stay in AGR’s No. 7 with Motorola as a sponsor.
While she has not commented, many still believe NASCAR could be in her future. Tony Stewart believes she’ll make the switch eventually. Before the Atlanta race, Stewart said:
I just know that she’s excited about this and making this change. I can pretty much guarantee at some point she’s going to be over here. … She’s 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.’
It was reported that Patrick would come to NASCAR in 2010, racing select races in the Nationwide Series, the Camping World Truck Series, and the ARCA Re/Max Series. Stewart Haas Racing was rumored to be the team that would help bring her along in NASCAR, and help her adjust. It should be noted that this could still be in the works, because the rumor was that she would still run in the IRL while making the transition.
I’m not sure how a three-year contract will change those plans. I don’t think that a NASCAR team would wait three years for her to make the transition, but AGR could also let her out of her contract early.
I too expect Patrick to eventually make the switch. But, I know many are growing tired of the “will she, won’t she” story, and I have to imagine NASCAR teams are as well. So, I think that the next time she publicizes her intentions to compete in NASCAR, she will really have to make the switch. This is the second time she has used the lure of NASCAR to secure a better IRL contract. If she does it again, without switching, then teams will find her harder to believe in the future.