ESPN has reported that Danica Patrick is in the final phases of signing a two-year contract to drive for JR Motorsports, beginning in 2010 during the ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway.
Patrick already signed a three-year contract extension with Andretti Green Racing to continue her career as an open wheel driver, and the move to NASCAR will not affect her current status with AGR.
Rick Hendrick, who owns part of JR Motorsports along with supplying Stewart Haas with their engines and chassis, is once again one of the key players in the deal, as reported by ESPN writer Ryan McGee.
Patrick, who has been toying with the idea of becoming a NASCAR driver since the beginning of the season, couldn’t have signed with a better team, especially when you look at the drivers that she will be surrounded with.
HMS easily has the cream of the crop in his stable, and each one of the drivers has a specialty that can help further her career.
Tony Stewart will probably be her biggest asset in helping her make the transition, since he has shown the most success as far as active drivers are concerned since making the switch from open wheel to NASCAR.
Patrick has already visited Stewart on more than a few occasions, with Stewart saying that she came to him for advice concerning the move.
Then you have the veteran Mark Martin, who has been around the sport for so long that not only do the younger drivers come to him for advice, but the older ones as well.
She couldn’t ask for a better driver to help her along with the knowledge, as well as the etiquette, that she will need to succeed that Martin knows all too well.
Jeff Gordon, who is a four-time champion, has probably overcome more adversity to get to where he is than any of the other HMS drivers.
Gordon is another driver that carries a lot of knowledge and has won championships while being scrutinized for not being one of their own.
Patrick will need to glean from her fellow teammates if she ever expects to succeed, because doubt, along with the usual fans that will choose to dislike her, will be plentiful.
She is entering into another type of jungle, and this jungle is a lot more vicious than what she is used to.
Just the fact alone that she will be racing in two different types of series will bring the detractors in droves to try to discredit her.
But then again, there will be those who will embrace her courage, boldness, and her audacity to venture beyond a world where she has already found comfort.
The only obstacle that just might come in her way is the attitude that she portrays, which will not be tolerated on this side of the fence.
It's time for her to grow up and realize now more than ever that the world of NASCAR will not put up with her childish antics and that these boys play for keeps.
Special thanks to Ryan McGee and ESPN Sports.