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Danica Patrick says she won't be timid in stock-car debut

February 4, 2010 |  8:11 am

Danica Patrick said Thursday she'll use her first stock-car race as a learning experience but that she won't be intimidated on the track.

Patrick, the most popular driver in the Izod IndyCar Series, plans to try her hand at NASCAR stock-car racing as well. She plans to start Saturday by driving in the minor-league ARCA Series at the high-banked Daytona International Speedway, then enter some NASCAR Nationwide Series races, including Feb. 20 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Asked at a media-day conference how aggressive she planned to be in the race, Patrick said, "You walk this very fine line of being more of a wimp and taking [other drivers'] crap and not doing anything about it to also being too overly aggressive."

But she said that "if somebody does something to me that I don't like, you have to expect that you get something in return, and I have fenders now, so that's pretty exciting," referring to how stock cars have enclosed bodies unlike the "open wheel" cars in the IndyCar series.

"I plan to respect everybody from the start, and if they give me a reason to not respect them, then I won't," Patrick said.

Patrick, who will be driving a car for JR Motorsports, a team co-owned by NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr., also said she would "like to do better [in the race] than just finish, but I don't know how it's going to go. The idea for me will be to improve."

-- Jim Peltz in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Photo: Danica Patrick is interviewed during Thursday's NASCAR media day at Daytona International Speedway. Credit: Todd Warshaw / Getty Images