Patrick will compete in 8 to 10 Sprint Cup events for Stewart-Haas while also driving a full-time Nationwide schedule for JR Motorsports with sponsorship from GoDaddy.com.
Stewart would like to find another driver and sponsor to fill the rest of the 36-race schedule for the new team.
“If we can put together a package to run somebody in the rest of the races, we would love to do that,” Stewart said. “It’s in everybody’s best interest to do that and I know it would be good for us as a team to run that car full time next year if that opportunity presents itself.”
Patrick’s Cup schedule is still to be determined, including whether the 29-year-old IndyCar star will run the Daytona 500.
“We’re working on her schedule, … but right now we’ve got a lot of things to work on,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to do [to start a third team]. There’s a lot of stuff not done yet.”
As far as what her Cup schedule should look like, JRM Motorsports co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he is staying out of that. Patrick indicated Thursday that she would like to make her Cup debut in the Daytona 500.
“She is old enough and been racing long enough to make good choices and whatever choice she makes will be a good one,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I think Daytona would be a tough deal to turn down. It’s obviously probably the biggest race of the season.
“It’s the best opportunity to secure sponsorship dollars at that level. I’m sure that will be something that they look at. We are just focusing on how we can help her in the Nationwide Series.”
Patrick has competed part-time in the Nationwide Series the last two seasons with JR Motorsports. She has three top-10 finishes in 20 starts, all of them coming this year with a career-best of fourth at Las Vegas.
There was some speculation that Patrick might just try to run Cup in 2012, but for her development it was decided she needed another year in Nationwide.
“The way it’s laid out is a really good schedule,” Stewart said. “For her to be in a stock car every week is going to be great for her, it’s going to be a great experience. To run her in the amount of races we’re going to run her in will be good to get her ready for Cup in 2013.”
Earnhardt Jr. also said he would have no problem if the schedule works out for her to compete in the Indianapolis 500.
“She can do whatever she wants to do, it doesn’t matter to me,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “If I had any experience in those cars, I might know a little bit more about the answer. But, whatever she feels like she wants to do, she ought to do it.”
Both of her car owners obviously are happy with Patrick’s decision to join their teams as part of her full-time move to NASCAR, which was announced Thursday.
“I’m excited about it,” Stewart said. “She’s putting 100 percent into it. She is definitely deserving of an opportunity like this and we’re excited and honored that she chose us to do it with.”
Earnhardt Jr. believes Patrick’s decision will have an impact on the ability of other female drivers to break into NASCAR’s top series.
“She has shown to be a tough racer and a marketing machine,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “She is really savvy and I think she just opened the door to a lot more opportunities for other women, regardless of whether she measures up to everybody’s expectations or not.”
Those expectations will be high.
“I really don’t know how its going to affect our entire organization,” said SHR driver Ryan Newman. “But obviously there is a lot of hype around it and we have seen around other areas of the sport with a lot of hype there can be much disappointment, so it’s something that I think we are all looking forward to just the experience of working with her.
“I am sure there are times where Stewart is going to tell her what to do and there are times where she might tell us what to do. There are different ways of looking at it communication-wise, marketing-wise, team-wise.”