The long-swirling rumors finally became reality as the world's highest-profile woman racer, Danica Patrick, signed a new two-year deal that will see her slide behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car starting in 2010. This agreement to drive Chevrolets on a part-time basis for JR Motorsports -- a team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick -- would be in addition to maintaining her full-time commitment to compete in the Indy Racing League (IRL) piloting an open-wheel Dallara-Honda
for Michael Andretti's Andretti Autosport operation. Patrick's first NASCAR appearance is scheduled for February 6 in an ARCA race to be held at the Daytona International Speedway the week before the Daytona 500. The remainder of her 2010 NASCAR starts will be in select Nationwide Series events, primarily those that held before and after the 18 events on the Indy Racing League schedule that begins in April and ends in October. Like her IRL ride, Patrick's NASCAR mounts will be sponsored by GoDaddy.com and should put the 27-year-old speed demonette in line to play an even bigger role in some very interesting promotional campaigns. GoDaddy.com, which has a well-established reputation for using Patrick in many of its rather risqué ads, will run two spots during Superbowl XLIV, which is being played the day after she participates in her inaugural ARCA race. No word on exactly how many nationwide races Patrick plans to contest in 2010, but stepping up to a Sprint Cup ride seems likely in 2011. However, having just signed a new three-year deal with Andretti, even moving to NASCAR's premier series would probably be done on a part-time basis.