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NASCAR NOTEBOOK: Danica says put her down for a dozen races; J.J. crashes in Rolex 24 practice

Photo by Shuji Kajiyama

Photo by Shuji Kajiyama

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- IndyCar star Danica Patrick will compete in at least 12 NASCAR races this season and could make her debut in the season opener.

JR Motorsports announced Patrick's schedule Thursday. Her first race, though, is still uncertain. Patrick is waiting to decide whether to race in the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13.

The team says it will decide after Patrick makes her stock car debut in the Feb. 6 ARCA race at Daytona. If she feels comfortable, she could race the following week in NASCAR's second-tier series. It would be a daunting NASCAR start considering more than a dozen Sprint Cup regulars, including team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., drive in that one.

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

If Patrick doesn't drive the Nationwide race at Daytona, she will make her debut the following week in Fontana, Calif.

Her remaining schedule includes Las Vegas (Feb. 20), a four-month hiatus to focus on the IndyCar Series and her return to NASCAR at New Hampshire (June 26).

She also will race in Chicago (July 9), Michigan (Aug. 14), Dover, Del. (Sept. 25), Fontana (Oct. 9), Charlotte (Oct. 15), Madison, Ill. (Oct. 23), Texas (Nov. 6), Phoenix (Nov. 13), and Homestead, Fla. (Nov. 20).



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Four-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson crashed during practice Thursday for this weekend's 24-hour race at Daytona International Speedway.

Johnson is feeling fine and hoping to get back behind the wheel for another practice on Friday, driver spokeswoman Kristine Curley said. Johnson is still planning to drive in the 24 Hours of Daytona 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. "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 tomorrow."

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.

Johnson's team is planning to rush parts to Daytona and work through the night in hopes of getting the car back on the track by Friday