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Danica Patrick to Join Andretti Green Racing in 2007

Jul 25, 3:03 PM (ET)

By ANDREW SELIGMAN
CHICAGO (AP) - Danica Patrick signed with Andretti Green Racing on Tuesday, deciding to stay in the Indy Racing League instead of switching to NASCAR.

Patrick will start driving for her new team in 2007. Her current contract with Rahal Letterman expires at the end of the season. Though she toyed with joining NASCAR, Patrick said last week she was leaning toward staying in the IndyCar series.

"My heart and soul is in IndyCar racing," Patrick said at a news conference. "NASCAR is not out for good. It's out for right now."

Patrick, the 2005 IndyCar Series rookie of the year, is the third driver under contract to Andretti Green racing for 2007. She joins Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti. Andretti Green has four full-time entries in the series.

"Danica has shown great talent during her first two seasons in the IndyCar Series," CEO Michael Andretti said in a prepared statement. "Our focus has been and always will be on winning races and winning championships. We certainly believe Danica will do that. She has made it very clear that one of her goals as a driver is to win the Indianapolis 500 and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity to do that."

Patrick has finished fourth in back-to-back races and is currently ninth in the IndyCar standings, but her Rahal team generally hasn't been competitive this season.

"I've had a very good run, a very good relationship with Rahal Letterman and Bobby Rahal. He helped me when no one else stepped up. And I will be forever grateful for that," Patrick said.

"But at some point in time, there's just time for a change, time for something new. I feel Andretti Green is going to give me the opportunity to win races, and while Rahal Letterman still can, too, I have to go with what I think is best for my future. I feel like that's the place."

Patrick and AGR officials refused to release the length of the deal.

Patrick's father, T.J., caused a stir earlier this month when he showed up at a Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway and told a Chicago Tribune reporter that Patrick was interested in switching to NASCAR.

But Patrick said she was just exploring every option and always was leaning toward staying in IndyCar.
 
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