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From the Marbles

Earnhardt Jr. would like to field Danica Patrick full-time

From The Marbles

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that while he was unsure of Danica Patrick's future plans, but that he's looking to keep her at JR Motorsports and hopefully expand it to a full-time stock car role. 

"I don't know. I haven't heard anything," Earnhardt said. "I feel confident that she's content where she is and happy with what we're doing. I think things are looking positive for us to put something together."

Patrick, currently full-time with Andretti Autosport in the IZOD IndyCar Series, has yet to reveal what her plans are for 2012 — and whether they involve open-wheel or stock cars, or a combination of the two.

"I would like for her to run full-time and I'm sure she is considering that, and I think she would enjoy it," Earnhardt Jr. said.

Patrick has competed in 19 Nationwide Series events in the past two seasons, finishing 15 of them. Her best result came at Las Vegas this past spring when she piloted the No. 7 JRM Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish. Patrick crashed during the final lap of her latest at Daytona in July, finishing 10th after leading 13 laps.

"I think she's doing great. She's way ahead of the curve," Earnhardt said. "We've had the opportunity to put several drivers in that car and her performance is right on par with all those drivers. We started out struggling and she had a steep, steep climb to go and she's really come a long way.

"I'm excited about what the potential is with her going forward."

Patrick will compete in six more Nationwide races this season: Montreal, Richmond, Kansas, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

On the IndyCar side, Patrick was the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and finished third in the 2009 race.

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