Could Danica Patrick be Heading to Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2010?

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Could Danica Patrick be Heading to Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2010?
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Let's explore what Danica Patrick's venture into NASCAR might mean for Kevin Harvick Incorporated.

ESPN.com's Ed Hinton, quoting a source, said Patrick is close to a deal that would allow her to drive in some Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races for KHI, while running a full-time IndyCar Series schedule.

The IRL darling apparently is having discussions with two-time Sprint Cup champion and owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart, a good friend who has had her in his shop at least twice in the last month.

Since Stewart-Haas Racing doesn't have a Nationwide or Truck Series program, Stewart will need some assistance.

Harvick, one of his closest friends in the garage and co-owner of a Nationwide and Truck Series program, automatically jumps to the top of the list.

There was much speculation a few months ago that Harvick was trying to get out of his contract with Richard Childress Racing in 2010 to move to Stewart-Haas.

Although he has committed to RCR through the end of his contract next season, could this be part of a bigger deal that would put Harvick at SHR in 2011?

Only time will tell.

Another option might be for Patrick to continue to drive the No. 7 Nationwide car for JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by Rick Hendrick, who supplies engines for Stewart-Haas. She is scheduled to be in the seat of the car for 13 races this season.

JR Motorsports' other co-owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is exploring options to run two Nationwide teams next season with GoDaddy.com, which sponsors Patrick in open-wheel racing and might be willing to hang around for her.

By the time Patrick is ready for Cup, Hendrick could have an opening in the No. 5 car currently being driven by Mark Martin, who plans to retire soon. Or the No. 24 driven by Jeff Gordon, should the four-time Cup champion be forced to retire early because of an ailing back.

But that doesn't serve Stewart or SHR in the long-run. Kevin Harvick Inc. makes the most sense because he has programs in both lower series and the relationship with Stewart.

And maybe one day Harvick, Stewart, and Patrick could all be teammates in Cup together.

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