News & Media

Earnhardt: Patrick already successful in NASCAR

August 19, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. was noncommittal on reports that Danica Patrick will race full time for his JR Motorsports Nationwide Series team next year, but he has been impressed with Patrick's performance on the track.

"When there's something to announce, they'll announce it, and we'll just wait until that happens, I guess."


According to reports by various news outlets, an announcement of Patrick's plans for 2012 is expected for next week in Phoenix.

"There ain't been no announcement yet, so I don't know why you would go report that," Earnhardt said Friday at Michigan. "We've enjoyed working with her and would love to keep working with her. When there's something to announce, they'll announce it, and we'll just wait until that happens, I guess."

Though Patrick has but one top-five (fourth at Las Vegas in March) and three top-10 finishes in 19 Nationwide starts during the past two seasons, Earnhardt said she has made significant progress since her debut at Daytona in February 2010.

"I think what she's accomplished already has been success, in my opinion," Earnhardt said. "She obviously would want to continue to improve and compete for wins and win races. It's tough to learn new cars, to learn a new vehicle and be able to drive it well and do well in it and adapt to it. I think she's done that.

"She's awesome about it, and she's really done a great job. She seems like she's fun to work with, and no matter whether you're a man or woman, people have to be able to get along with you, and you have to be able to be a people person and manage people and manage relationships. She seems to do a great job of that."

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bristol, we want you to upload your photos with captions of your stories from the days and nights at the World's Fastest Half-Mile.

Johnson's view of Bristol

Jimmie Johnson has a perspective on Bristol Motor Speedway that only a driver can have.

Although races at Bristol aren't as wild as they used to be when the bottom groove was the only way around the .533-mile short track, races there remain a challenge. Drivers complete a lap in less than 16 seconds and often don't have time to react to an accident in front of them.

Limited visibility can be an issue, too.

"When you go into a corner at Bristol, the radius of the turn is so sharp that you would literally need a sun roof to see the exit of the corner, because you go in the corner and the exit is over here," Johnson said, pointing to the left. "So not only are you going really fast in a small area, you can't see much. You only see, as you are going into the corner, you can maybe only see five car lengths in front of you -- six car lengths.

"When something happens, you see it late and then you are going fast and you can't stop and there's no room, and it just compounds from there and puts on exciting races -- exciting stuff. It puts us in a position where we just have to build a lot of trust in spotters and assume things are OK in front of you and just hope for the best."

The Sprint Cup Series shifts to Bristol after Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.