Patrick Nearing Transition

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick has raced in eight NASCAR Nationwide Series events this season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Danica Patrick continues to build towards her full transition into NASCAR by running in four of the final five Nationwide Series events of the season, starting with Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.

Though it will be Patrick’s first start at the 1.5-mile oval as a stock car driver, she has driven a total of 1,150 laps around the track in six races behind the wheel of an Indy car.

Patrick earned her first career IZOD IndyCar Series pole at Kansas Speedway, along with recording one top five and three top-10 finishes.

“This will be another track for me to experience in a stock car,” Patrick said on MRN Radio’s NASCAR Live broadcast this week. “The good news is Tony (Eury) Jr. and the Go Daddy crew do a phenomenal job preparing our cars. It will take me a few laps to get up to speed but after that, we’ll be competitive.”

After seven seasons of competing in the IndyCar series, the six-time Most Popular Driver award winner will make her final start next weekend at the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas. In 115 career races, she has one win and seven podium appearances.

Patrick returns to the Nationwide Series again the following week to drive her No. 7 Chevrolet in the final three events on the schedule, at Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I actually feel like I’ve had a nice transition (to NASCAR),” Patrick said. “I’ve really enjoyed it. The fans are awesome. There’s always so much excitement around every single weekend.”

With a best finish of 19th in 13 races last season, Patrick has shown improvement and given fans a reason to be excited by earning one top five and three top-10 finishes in eight races so far this season. Her driver rating is 80.3, which is 28.3 points higher than last year’s.

“Personally, I think I’ve jumped a small hurdle in the process of being more accustomed to these tracks,” Patrick said. “By season’s end, there will only be a handful of tracks that I haven’t raced on in a stock car. That will be a big advantage for next year.”

Starting in 2012, Patrick will move exclusively to NASCAR as a full-time driver for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series and a part-time driver for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.

“I’m looking forward to next year,” Patrick said. “It’s very important that we end this year strong. We certainly can do that.”

In her last four starts, Patrick has shown strength with two top-10 finishes and she will look to continue that success this weekend in Kansas.

Patrick will have the opportunity to win her first Nationwide Series pole when qualifying for the 200-lap race begins Saturday at 10:05 a.m. (ET). The Kansas Lottery 300 will be broadcast on Motor Racing Network starting at 3:15 p.m.

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