Danica Patrick enters final year of contract but wants to stay at Stewart-Haas


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Car owner Gene Haas confirmed Tuesday that this is the final year of Danica Patrick’s three-year contract with Stewart-Haas Racing, but both Haas and Patrick want to extend that partnership.

“We would love to see Danica come back,’’ Haas said during the NASCAR Sprint Cup media tour. “We want to see Danica succeed as much as anybody does. I think NASCAR wants to see her succeed. So there’s an awful lot of vested interest to have Danica succeed in this man’s sport.’’

Patrick finished 28th in the points last year, her second full year in the Sprint Cup series, but said she made progress. Her best finish was sixth at Atlanta. It was one of three top-10 finishes she had last year.

“Stewart-Haas is an amazing team,’’ Patrick said. “It’s been the closest thing to family. Most every team says it’s family. Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t, but at Stewart-Haas for me it’s felt like that and they care.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have a sponsor like GoDaddy and have the faith of the people around me that I could really name the team I wanted to drive for, and Tony (Stewart) and Gene made it happen, and GoDaddy made it happen. I didn’t even want to run anywhere else. I didn’t pick to run anywhere else – and I still don’t. I believe in what they do and the hard work they put in and their philosophies and the way they take care of each other.’’

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.