NSCS: Danica to Make Cup Debut – Will Run 2012 Daytona 500

Photo Credit: LAT photo

Stewart-Haas Racing announced Friday afternoon that Danica Patrick will make her NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the 2012 Daytona 500, racing a total of 10 races in during the 2012 NSCS season.

Patrick, a seven-year veteran of the IndyCar series, where she became the first female to win a race, is making the full transition to NASCAR in 2012, competing in the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports and a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule for SHR.

Eight races are confirmed for Patrick during the 2012 NSCS season, while two races are still to be determined.

Patrick’s NASCAR Sprint Cup debut will come in the 54th annual Daytona 500 on February 26th. Her remaining Sprint Cup races are as follows:

  • May 12: Darlington Raceway
  • August 25: Bristol Motor Speedway
  • September 2: Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • September 16: Chicagoland Speedway
  • September 30: Dover International Speedway
  • November 4: Texas Motor Speedway
  • November 11: Phoenix International Raceway

“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,” said Stewart. “In the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, she’ll handle short tracks, intermediate 1.5-mile ovals, and some unique tracks like Darlington and Phoenix. The point is to expose her to as many challenges as possible so that she’ll know what to expect in 2013.

“Between our schedule and her full Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports, Danica will gain a lot of experience quickly. At the same time, we’ll monitor her progress, and if we feel there’s a particular venue or style of track where more seat time would be beneficial, we have two races where we can call an audible and enter her in those events.”

“There were a lot of reasons why Stewart-Haas Racing made sense for me, but probably the biggest reason was Tony Stewart,” said Danica.

“He’s already done what I’m trying to do – make the transition from open-wheel cars to stock cars. If there’s anyone who knows what I need to do and what I need to look out for, it’s him.”

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