MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Danica Patrick will drive the No. 7 Chevrolet in the first four Nationwide Series events of 2011, JR Motorsports officials announced Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The races beyond that have not been determined, although Patrick will take on a schedule similar to that of her 13-race rookie campaign.
The first four races include the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 13) followed by the 200-mile race at Phoenix International Raceway (Feb. 26), the 300-mile race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, (March 5) and the 150-mile dash at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 19). Patrick will then return to the IndyCar Series to dedicate full-time attention to open-wheel racing, making sporadic returns to NASCAR throughout the year.
Friday’s announcement also included the unveiling of the 2011 paint scheme for Patrick’s No. 7 Chevrolet.
“I know we’re all anxious to get the whole schedule put in place, but I’m extremely excited to be able to confirm our participation in the first four races of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season,” Patrick said. “We’ll have four extremely challenging and unique races to start our 2011 season, and I’m anxious to return to a lot of those tracks with at least a little bit of familiarity.”
A new track for her will be Bristol Motor Speedway. Patrick will join teammates Aric Almirola and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in competing in the Bristol race.
“Danica has shown immense dedication in her NASCAR endeavor,” JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt said. “She proved last week [at Auto Club Speedway] that even a little bit of experience goes a long way, as she drove an exceptional race. Starting this weekend at Charlotte, she will compete in each of the final five races of 2010. Add the first four Nationwide races of next season, and that’s a solid stretch of seat time she will get to continue learning the intricacies of these race cars. She has done a commendable job so far given the limited seat time, and we appreciate her work ethic and dedication to Go Daddy and our race team.”