Danica Patrick wants to compete in 2012 NASCAR Nationwide series and Indy 500

Danica Patrick has driven in several NASCAR Nationwide series events this year, while still competing on the IndyCar circuit. In 2012, Danica Patrick would drive in more Nationwide events and the Indy 500.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/AP
Danica Patrick bangs her steering wheel in frustration during a practice session for the IndyCar Edmonton auto race, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 23.

Now that she's had a taste of NASCAR, Danica Patrick wants more, starting next year.

There are reports that Patrick is close to finalizing a deal to drive a NASCAR Nationwide series car for JR Motorsports, the racing team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his sister. The Nationwide series features up-and-coming drivers competing against established NASCAR veterans.

Former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart is also interested in having Patrick drive for his team on a limited basis in the Sprint Cup series.

It's also been reported that Patrick could break away from the Nationwide circuit in May, 2012, to run in the Indianapolis 500. Patrick has enjoyed success driving at Indy, leading the race for stretches in both her rookie year of 2005 and this year's race. Her best finish was third place in 2009.

As for NASCAR, Earnhardt, Jr. is impressed with Patrick's efforts so far.

“I feel confident that she’s content where she is and happy with what we’re doing and I think things are looking positive for us to put something together,” he told reporters last week at Indianapolis. “I would like for her to run full time and I’m sure she is considering that and I think she would enjoy it.”

All of this is contingent on Patrick being released from her contract with Andretti Autosport, her current IndyCar employer, according to Associated Press sources.

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