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Danica Patrick says that there have been ‘some’ discussions for 2018

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DOVER, Delaware — Danica Patrick, who is without a ride for next season, says she’s had “some but not a ton” of discussions about 2018.

Patrick will complete her fifth and final season with Stewart-Haas Racing this year. She stated Sept. 12 in a Facebook posting that she would not return to the team because of lack of sponsorship. Patrick enters Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway 28th in the points.

She has said that she only wants a Cup ride and one that is competitive. Very few such rides appear available for next season.

“As I’ve said for a good while now, I let business people in my business handle that and have those conversations and figure out what options are out there, and I’m going to let them do that,” Patrick said Friday at Dover International Speedway after announcing her car will be pink this weekend and next at Charlotte to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink she is running at Dover and Charlotte (Photo: Getty Images)

Whether Patrick races in NASCAR next year, she will have accomplished more than any other female driver in the series. She won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first woman to do so. While critics will point to her having seven top-10 finishes in 182 starts, she has run more races than any other female driver in series history.

Asked about her proudest moment in NASCAR, Patrick said:

“The one that will stand out is qualifying on the pole for the Daytona 500 as the media results of that were something like winning the fourth biggest race of the year, even though it’s just for qualifying. That one will be the biggest one that will stand out. There have been lots of little races along the way that I have felt have been much more difficult and much more representative of the hard work that I’ve put into the sport. But those don’t stand out because those weren’t wins or top fives. But top 10s and things like that and some runs that I’ve had have meant more to me. I definitely think pulling back a little further than individual events is the inspiration that you’ve been told you bring to people, especially to kids, that’s a role that you can’t buy your way into. You have to earn that. You just can’t stumble onto that, especially having been around a long time now. That’s probably the most meaningful.

“Do I think that I’ve had the best car on track with the best engine, the best, best, best, best, best? Probably not. Have I had good teams? Absolutely. Have I had good equipment? Absolutely. The challenges are those last little details and having a group of people around you that believe that you can do it and are willing to go beyond the call of duty for the job and go the extra mile.

“My very first engineer in IndyCar uses a reference that comes to mind. He called it the “100 Hand Theory.” If you stick one hand out the window, it doesn’t make a difference. If your stick 100 (hands) it does. All those small, small, small little details that stack up to make something special that goes out on track, yeah, that’s something that always hasn’t been there. I do think that I’ve always had good equipment.”

As Patrick considers her options for next year, could IndyCar be in the mix?

“No,’’ she said. “I’m not planning on anything, going back to IndyCar. Never say never as I’ve said for many years because I’m getting so old and I know things can change. My life changes in ways that I wouldn’t expect it every couple of years. You just can’t cross off anything on the list completely.”

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NASCAR: Will Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch advance in playoffs?

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The last two drivers to win NASCAR Cup titles are in precarious positions ahead of the Round of 12 elimination race at Kansas Speedway.

Kyle Busch, the 2015 champion, is outside the top eight in ninth. He sits seven points behind defending champion Jimmie Johnson.

NASCAR America analysts Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman debated who they think had the best chance to advance to the Third round after Sunday.

Petty put his money behind Busch, who has finished in the top five in each of his last five starts at the 1.5-mile track.

“He’s one of the big three: Truex, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson,” Petty said. “I don’t see where these (last) two races (Charlotte, Talladega) have changed anything. The one thing Kyle Busch brings into Kansas City … he brings speed. These guys have had speed all year-long.”

Johnson on the other hand has produced only four top fives all season and just one since he won at Dover in June.

But Kligerman explained why he thinks the seven-time champion will prevail on Sunday.

“Jimmie Johnson knows how to pass and that is what has become evident throughout this season,” Kligerman said. “No, they have not had the fastest cars at Hendrick Motorsports. No, they have not qualified well. They’ve actually been sort of abysmal at qualifying of late.

“… He has three wins this year. Two of those he started at the back.”

Watch the video for more.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Daniel Hemric, Daniel Suarez’ racing roots

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America begins at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to preview the Round of 12 elimination race at Kansas Speedway.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman from Stamford, Connecticut.

On the show:

  • We’ll debate which past Cup Series champion will advance to the Round of 8. Defending champion Jimmie Johnson currently leads 2015 champ Kyle Busch by only seven points for the final transfer spot. Who has the edge going into Kansas this Sunday? This elimination race will be a heated competition just to finish above the cut line. Log on to NBCSports.com/NASCARVote and weigh in!
  • Xfinity Series playoff driver Daniel Hemric calls into the show to talk about his chances of advancing to the championship four in Miami. He’ll also describe his experience being one of the four drivers to participate in the recent tire test at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “Roval.”
  • We take a look at the Daniel Suarez’s Racing Roots and discuss his transition from Xfinity Series champion to Monster Energy Cup Series rookie.
  • Parker Kligerman hops into the iRacing simulator to preview Sunday’s elimination race at Kansas, as well as the Formula 1 race in Austin, Texas.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Daniel Hemric gets unexpected introduction to Cup car at Charlotte road course test (video)

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Being a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, a lot of Daniel Hemric‘s racing firsts are connected to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 26-year-old Xfinity Series driver got another one this week when an unexpected call shortened a vacation to Mexico and put him in a Cup car for the first time.

Hemric, who drives Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet in his rookie season, was visiting the country as part of a birthday vacation for his wife, Kenzie.

“As soon as the wheels touched down I got a call from some guys a RCR asking ‘Hey, would you mind driving a Cup car Tuesday at a test?'” Hemric said Wednesday.

“Do I need to fly home right now or what?” Hemric responded.

Come Tuesday morning, Hemric was sitting in the cockpit of Ryan Newman‘s No. 31 Chevrolet as one of four drivers taking part in the first Goodyear tire test on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, a 2.42-mile, 18-turn circuit made up of most of the original 1.5-mile track and the infield road course.

MORE: Cup drivers share thoughts on Charlotte road course

The two-day test could give Hemric a step up on his Xfinity competition as the series also will run on the road course next year.

“The first two or three runs was about getting me acclimated (to the car) but since then I think we’ve done a good job of communicating with Goodyear and trying to figure what we need to be able to make sure fans will be able to see racing and side-by-side racing and a lot of action, which I think you’re going to see.”

Added Hemric: “These Cup cars get up to speed so quick compared to the Xfinity car, with such low downforce and high horsepower. It’s been fun to figure out how to get that laid down here around the roval.”

Luckily, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray were all experiencing the road course for the first time.

“Obviously, being my first time in (a Cup car), you’re trying to be aware of what you’re doing yourself,” Hemric said. “But to be able to lean on those guys, have the same thoughts as them, really collaborate with NASCAR and the race track to figure out where we should place those chicanes and all that stuff. I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress working as a group.”

MORE: Daniel Hemric returning to RCR in 2018

 

Spencer Boyd will compete in Xfinity full-time in 2018 for SS Green Light Racing

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SS Green Light Racing announced Thursday Spencer Boyd will compete full-time for it next season in the Xfinity Series.

Boyd will drive the No. 76 Chevrolet sponsored by Grunt Style, a veteran-owned lifestyle brand.

Boyd, 22, has made four starts for the team this year in the No. 07 Chevrolet, which has primarily been driven by Ray Black Jr.

“This is the day I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” Boyd said in a press release.  “I’ve been racing something since I was 5 years old with the dream of making racing my career. Grunt Style has made my dreams come true.”

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Boyd has 12 starts between the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series. In six Xfinity starts, including the four this year, his best result is 27th at New Hampshire.

Jason Miller will serve as the crew chief on the car that is owned by Bobby Dotter. Dotter has fielded cars in 116 races in the Xfinity Series since 1995 and 305 Truck Series entries since 2004.

“(Spencer) is one of the hardest working drivers I’ve seen,” Dotter said in the press release. “He is at the shop everyday helping with the cars and making the guys laugh.  Our organization is better because the team believes it when he says this is a team sport.  We are looking forward to a great 2018 season.”