Danica Patrick and Kasey Kahne to run part-time Nationwide schedules

By Joseph Wolkin
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It was rumored that Richard Childress Racing wanted her. Heck, who wouldn’t want her. She’s a marketing machine and can drive a race car pretty darn well. However, Richard Childress Racing didn’t get what they wanted.

Danica Patrick, the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Most Popular Driver in 2012, will return to the series in a 10-race schedule. Patrick will be competing her first full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series after three seasons in the Nationwide Series. In 58 races, Patrick secured a pole with one top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Though it is sub-par for a driver with the amount of funding she has, Patrick is determined to make her NASCAR career work out.

In 2013, Patrick will be racing with Stewart-Haas Racing in the No. 10 Chevrolet at NASCAR’s top tier series. Meanwhile over in the Nationwide Series garage, Patrick will be taking her talents to Turner Motorsports, the team that won the Camping World Truck Series championship with James Buescher this past season. As Patrick moves from JR Motorsports, she will also bring along sponsor GoDaddy.com which will be her primary sponsor during the Sprint Cup Series schedule as well. Even though the move may not make sense for Turner Motorsports given her history of accidents, it will give them some extra funding which they could use as they have struggled in the past to find sponsors and landing a name like Danica Patrick to their stable could only help their chances in the future.

Patrick’s move wasn’t the only one announced as Hendrick Motorsports driver, Kasey Kahne had a big announcement as well. Kahne will be taking over the ride Patrick had in 2012. Well, not exactly. Since Regan Smith will drive Patrick’s old No. 7 car, Kahne will pilot the No. 5 car while team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have a partial schedule in the No. 88 which Cole Whitt drove last season.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Sweet will split the schedule with Kahne as the tango brings along long-time Turner Motorsports sponsor, Great Clips, with them. The two will run a total of 27 races while Kahne will run 15 of them. The team isn’t sure whether they will run the full schedule or not as six races are still unsponsored. So where does that leave Whitt one may ask? Well, it seems like he will have to find another ride for the 2013 season.

Unless he wants to run just six races during the whole season, it’s likely that he will find another ride given his caliber of talent, or he can run the rest of the races in the No. 88 if sponsorship is found. Great Clips will also be Earnhardt Jr.’s sponsor in one of his four races for the 2013 season which could likely be one of the six races that the team will not be fielding two cars.

 Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.

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