And she might have appeared somewhere other than at her sponsor’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz.—far from the inquiring minds of those who cover NASCAR racing on a weekly basis -- to announce last month that she would run a full Nationwide Series and partial Cup schedule next year. “GoDaddy’s input is important -- yes,” Patrick said Friday at Richmond International Raceway, when asked about her Cup plans for 2012. “It is, and they’ll play a part. But they’re also very respectful enough to understand that I’m the driver and that the team owners (Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Nationwide and Stewart in Cup) are drivers, too.”
Stewart and Patrick have discussed the Cup schedule in broad strokes, but they’re waiting for the entire NASCAR schedule to be released before they solidify plans for next year. “When I first talked to Tony about it, he thought that maybe going to some of the tougher tracks and getting a head start on learning them would be the best, which means I’m really going to look like crap out there,” Patrick said. “I don’t know where they’ll be, but I only imagine it will be challenging tracks like Darlington or Dover or Bristol.” Wherever else Patrick races in the Cup series, if you bet that her Cup debut will be somewhere other than Daytona, you might as well hand over the money right now.