Patrick closing on new AGR deal
|By Jeff Olson||Sunday, August 23rd 2009, 06:35 GMT|
Danica Patrick has indicated that she intends to remain with Andretti Green Racing next season, but stopped short of saying a deal is complete to keep her at the IndyCar team that has employed her for three seasons.
Patrick also hinted that the recent changes in the team's structure - with Michael Andretti splitting with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree – played a significant role in her decision.
"The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know," Patrick said after qualifying 11th at Sonoma. "Every team has its pitfalls and its people that are difficult. I just like some of the changes that are being made in this team, and that's good for me."
Her comments put an end to speculation that Patrick might sign with a NASCAR team in 2010. She had also reportedly been considering a move to Chip Ganassi's IndyCar team.
Patrick said nothing has been signed with AGR, but that she believed her primary sponsor, Motorola, and its Boost Mobile brand would continue to be involved.
"We definitely are getting it narrowed down, but there's no paperwork yet," she said. "We have yet to come to that point, but the job that my agents do is going to be so thorough on the front end that there isn't going to be that much left to do."
The split of AGR, which will see Andretti taking over the race operation while Green and Savoree get AGR Promotions, which operates the Toronto and St Petersburg IndyCar events, appears to have been the catalyst for Patrick's decision.
She also indicated that she had pondered an offer from Ganassi, but would not consider any other IndyCar team aside from Penske, which already has two full-time drivers and one part-time driver.
"There are no other teams other than AGR, Ganassi and Penske that you'd want to go to," Patrick said.
The American, who is the highest profile driver in the series, added that she hopes that other IndyCar sponsors do more to promote their drivers.
"I'm not the only show here, that's for darn sure," Patrick said. "There are a lot of great personalities. I wish the other drivers' sponsors would put them on the map more than they do."
Other power changes this year in the series, including Tony George's departure as president and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his subsequent refusal to continue as head of the Indy Racing League, may have played a role on her decision to stay.
"It might be all right that there's a shift at the top," she said. "What I'd like to know is what the chain of command is, because I don't know who answers to whom. That's something I'd be curious to know about, and maybe someday they'll figure it out."