Danica Patrick to make NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at Daytona 500
Danica Patrick plans to make her debut in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series at the sport's crown-jewel race, the Daytona 500, next Feb. 26 and is eyeing a possible full-time Cup ride in 2013.
Patrick, 29,will drive the No. 10 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, the team co-owned by two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart.
Patrick just finished her full-time career in the Izod IndyCar Series, in which she won one race in seven years, to drive full-time in NASCAR stock-car racing.
In an announcement at Texas Motor Speedway, site of the next Cup race Sunday, Stewart-Haas and Patrick said she would drive a total of 10 Cup races next year while also competing all season in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series.
Besides Daytona, Patrick's Cup schedule includes Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.
Her two other Cup appearances will be determined later.
"Our goal with Danica's schedule is to try and maximize her 10 races with us so that she's as prepared as she can possibly be for a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013," Stewart said in a statement.
Patrick, who is driving in this Saturday's Nationwide race at Texas, also said her helmet and race car would carry paint schemes honoring two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, who was killed last month in an IndyCar race in Las Vegas.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Danica Patrick and team co-owner Tony Stewart unveil Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during an event at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images