A couple of notes from the open-wheel world in America.
First off, rumors have circulated that Danica Patrick will try to get the best of both worlds by keeping a full IndyCar schedule while also running a dozen or so races on NASCAR’s Nationwide series.
Here’s the skinny from ESPN:
IndyCar Series and crossover media star Danica Patrick is nearing completion of a two-year contract with JR Motorsports, the NASCAR Nationwide Series operation owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., and a source close to the negotiations described the talks as being “in the final phase.”
A second source close to the situation confirmed the deal is moving forward, saying “talks are moving in a very positive direction and it would probably be a surprise if it didn’t happen.”
Sources also told Smith the first race on Patrick’s tentative schedule is the ARCA event at Daytona Speedweeks. Depending on whether or not she is approved by NASCAR to run the Daytona Nationwide Series event in February, Patrick plans to run 12 or 13 Nationwide races in 2010, sources said.
If Patrick is not approved by NASCAR, she would likely debut at Auto Club Speedway the following week.
Sources said GoDaddy.com, which already sponsors Patrick in the IndyCar Series, is expected to be the primary sponsor for the car.
Contrary to reports that Patrick will make $300,000 a race, sources said she would make in line of the typical Nationwide salary—between $50,000 and $100,000 a race. “She’s not in it for the money,” a source said. “She’s in it for the experience.”
Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race, will continue to race full-time for Andretti Green Racing in IndyCar.
The other news, expected to be announced officially later today, is that Izod—yes, the clothing company responsible for those alligator shirts—will come on as the title sponsor for the IndyCar series.
And thus, Izod IndyCar shall be born.
More from ESPN :
INDIANAPOLIS—IndyCar officials are expected to announce Thursday that clothing maker Izod will become the series’ title sponsor next season.
A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed the move Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced. The league has scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon.
It would be the first time since 2002 that the IndyCar series has had a title sponsor, and it comes at a time when some companies have been tightfisted because of the tough economy.
Speculation has grown this week that Izod, which became a key player in the series last year, would take on a bigger role in the series in 2010.
This should mean we get to see Danica in a tight Izod shirt instead of just Ryan Hunter-Reay.