|Danica Patrick's move to NASCAR comes in her final year of her contract with Andretti Autosport. (QMI Agency/Pierre-Paul Poulin)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Popular race car driver Danica Patrick said on Thursday she is "ready to go" to NASCAR full-time, starting in 2012.
After months of speculation, Patrick, 29, formally revealed her intentions to run a full schedule in the Nationwide Series and a partial schedule in the Sprint Cup Series next year. She made the announcement at the headquarters of GoDaddy.com, which will sponsor her efforts in stock car racing. GoDaddy.com chief executive officer and founder Bob Parsons joined Patrick for the announcement.
"I'm just excited to finally say it," an enthusiastic Patrick said. "I'm sure there will be plenty of journalists out there that will be glad they don't have to ask the question any more and plenty of other people that will be happy to stop speculating."
Patrick will continue to drive the No.7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., in Nationwide. She expects to run in eight to 10 Sprint Cup races for Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Her race schedule and car number for Tony Stewart's team have yet to be determined. There had been rumors that her Sprint Cup debut would be in the Feb. 26 Daytona 500.
"I've been thinking about this for sometime, but things take time and their complicated," she said.
Patrick also mentioned that she is hopeful to run a full Cup schedule for SHR in 2013.
"I've known Tony since I was pretty young, so having that IndyCar background that he has, I think we can relate to each other a lot," she added.
Patrick's move to NASCAR full-time comes in her final year of her contract with Andretti Autosport. She has competed in 20 Nationwide races so far, including seven this year. Patrick finished fourth at Las Vegas in March, making her the highest finishing female ever in a NASCAR national touring race.
"We are pleased Danica Patrick has chosen to race full-time in NASCAR in 2012," NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer Brian France said in a statement. "She has demonstrated a strong desire to compete, and NASCAR provides the best opportunity to race against the top drivers in the world with the largest and most loyal fan base in motorsports on a week-to-week basis.
"Danica has shown solid improvement in NASCAR, and we believe her decision to run full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with additional races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will be exciting for our fans and a great challenge for her."
Whether or not she runs in next year's Indianapolis 500 is also unknown at this time.
Patrick has been running a full IndyCar schedule each season since 2005. In March 2008, she became the first woman to win an IndyCar race with her victory at Motegi, Japan. Patrick is currently 12th in points. The series is competing this weekend in Sonoma, Calif.
"I'll miss some of the venues and the people [in IndyCar]," she said.
Patrick's next scheduled Nationwide race is September 9 at Richmond.