Andretti announces new Patrick deal
|By Matt Beer
||Monday, November 30th 2009, 14:14 GMT
Andretti Autosport has confirmed that Danica Patrick will stay with its IndyCar team.
After suggestions that she could move to Ganassi or leave the IndyCar Series for NASCAR, Patrick decided in late summer that she would remain with Michael Andretti's squad.
Both parties have since strongly hinted that they had agreed a contract extension, and today they officially announced a new multi-year deal with backing from internet company Go Daddy.
"All of us at Andretti Autosport are looking forward to having Danica back with the team and are excited about working with Bob Parsons and everyone at Go Daddy as the primary sponsor on Danica's car," said Andretti.
The team's name is changing from Andretti Green Racing to Andretti Autosport this winter as part of the reorganisation that has seen its promotions arm - which runs the St Petersburg and Toronto races - split into a separate company. Former partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree will focus on this new business, leaving Andretti in sole charge of the racing team.
Patrick joined AGR for the 2007 season and took her first victory with the team at Motegi last year. Although she was unable to repeat that result in 2009, she did achieve a career-best fifth in the championship and became the first woman to finish in the top three at the Indianapolis 500.
"I'm happy to be able to announce that I'm returning to Andretti Autosport," said Patrick.
"Michael Andretti has helped me become a better driver and we hope to accomplish a great deal during the next few years together."
Although today's announcement confirms that Patrick will remain an IndyCar driver for the time being, she has also been linked with a parallel NASCAR programme with a view to a full-time switch to stock cars later in her career.
In addition to Patrick, Andretti also has Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti on long-term deals, with Ryan Hunter-Reay expected to replace Hideki Mutoh in the team's fourth car.