DAYTONA BEACH -- It appears Danica Mania will continue for another week.
Danica Patrick will announce today that she will enter next Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway, according to espn.com.
After having the espn.com report read to him over the phone, Speedway president Robin Braig said he would welcome Patrick back to Speed Weeks with open arms.
"She lifted the spirits and hearts of race fans Saturday afternoon and if she will do it again next Saturday, we couldn't be happier," Braig said.
"I have to go now and alert my ticket office, if what you are telling me is true."
The ESPN Web site, citing unnamed sources, said the IndyCar Series regular made the decision after her success in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.
Patrick started 12th and finished sixth in the 80-lap race over the Speedway's 2.5-mile tri-oval. It was her first race behind the wheel of a stock car.
She seemed to enjoy Saturday afternoon's race and answered the challenge of spinning out, having repairs made to her No. 7 Chevrolet then working her way back to a top-10 finish.
Patrick has a two-year Nationwide Series contract with JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his sister Kelley.
Patrick's crew chief, Tony Eury Jr., said the choice to compete in the 120-lap DRIVE4COPD 300 was strictly in the hands of the driver. Eury said Patrick had until today to make a decision.
"We got the cars ready to roll," Eury said during the ARCA test. "All she has to do is tell us she wants to race and we'll be there."
The team said Patrick would announce her decision today.
The espn.com story indicated that Patrick's sponsor, godaddy.com, was pushing for the 27-year-old driver to compete this coming weekend.
With the media from the ARCA race and Patrick's two Super Bowl commercials Sunday night, she is an extremely high-profile marketing asset.
ESPN.com reported that despite her performance in the ARCA race, Patrick still hesitated to run close to the car ahead of hers, a necessity in restrictor plate racing to remain competitive.
"That's the kind of thing that is going to take gradual time, to get used to bump drafting," Eury said Saturday. "We just keep talking. This (racing in the ARCA 200) is the most homework we can do."
The Web site reported that Patrick's biggest reservation about Daytona was keeping JR Motorsports teammate Kelly Bires out of the event and perhaps costing a driver competing for the championship valuable points if she makes a mistake.
SPEED WEEKS SCHEDULE
Noon-1:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice
2:00-2:50 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice (final practice before Gatorade Duel At Daytona)
3-5 p.m.: Nationwide Series practice
6-7:30 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series practice
9-11 a.m.: Camping World Truck Series final practice
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Nationwide Series final practice
1:40 p.m.: Sprint Cup drivers introductions
2 p.m.: Sprint Cup Gatorade 150 mile qualifying races
6:10 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series qualifying
1:40-2:40 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice
3:10 p.m.: Nationwide Series qualifying
7:30 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series driver intros
8 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series Nextera Energy Resources 250
10:30-11:55 a.m.: Sprint Cup final Daytona 500 practice
12:45 p.m.: Nationwide Series driver introductions
1:15 p.m.: Nationwide Series Camping World 300
12:15 p.m.: Sprint Cup Daytona 500 driver introductions
1 p.m.: Sprint Cup Daytona 500