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Danica's NASCAR slate almost set


24 Hours of Daytona

When/where: 3:30 p.m. Saturday through Sunday; Daytona International Speedway

More qualifying: 11 a.m. today

Classes: Daytona Prototype (purpose-built racing cars) and Grand Touring (production cars)

TV: Speed, 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — IndyCar driver Danica Patrick will compete in at least 12 Nationwide Series races this season, her team, JR Motorsports, said Thursday.

Her first race, though, is still uncertain. The team, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., said it will decide after Patrick makes her stock car debut in the Feb. 6 ARCA race at Daytona. If she feels ready, she could race Feb. 13 at Daytona in NASCAR's second-tier series.

"We just want to be smart and calculative about this process," Patrick said. "The tracks we've selected not only compliment the IndyCar schedule but will give me quality seat-time at a variety of facilities."

If Patrick doesn't drive at Daytona, she will debut the following week in Fontana, Calif. Her other races:

• Las Vegas (Feb. 27)

• Loudon, N.H. (June 26)

• Chicago (July 9)

• Brooklyn, Mich. (Aug. 14)

• Dover, Del. (Sept. 25)

• Fontana (Oct. 9)

• Charlotte, N.C. (Oct. 15)

• Madison, Ill. (Oct. 23)

• Fort Worth, Texas (Nov. 6)

• Phoenix (Nov. 13)

• Homestead (Nov. 20)

IRL founder's team suspends operations

INDIANAPOLIS — Tony George, who spent 20 years as president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and founded the Indy Racing League, told his Vision Racing team he was suspending operations because it lacked enough sponsors.

The decision means Ed Carpenter, George's stepson and primary driver, is looking for a new ride. George was not available for comment. But team spokesman Pat Caporali said George could resume operations if enough sponsors are found.

That likely won't happen in time for the first of two testing sessions: Feb. 24-26 and the season opener March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Sprint champ crashes

DAYTONA BEACH — Four-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson crashed during practice for the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Johnson, 34, felt fine. And his team planned to rush parts from the shop in North Carolina to Daytona and work through the night in time for another practice session today.

The race starts Saturday on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course.

"I put myself in a position with a GT car that I shouldn't and paid the price," Johnson said in a statement his team released. "I hate it that I tore up equipment and put the guys in this spot. It looks like we will get this fixed, and hopefully, everything will be good for (today)."

Johnson damaged the rear end of his No. 99 Chevrolet Riley Daytona Prototype trying to avoid a slower car. He hit the brakes, turned sideways, slid backward and slammed into the wall.

More 24 Hours: Max Angelelli captured the pole. Driving the No. 10 Ford Dallara, he completed a lap in 1 minute, 40.827 seconds (127.108 mph). Ozz Negri will start from the outside of Row 1 after finishing in 1:41.100 (126.765 mph) in the No. 60 Ford Riley. He edged Michael Shank Racing teammate Michael Valiante, who came in at 1:41.110 (126.755 mph) in the No. 6 Ford Riley. Jeff Segal won the GT pole with a track-record lap of 1:49.282 (117.275 mph) in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8.

Danica's NASCAR slate almost set 01/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:05pm]
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