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Patrick to go full-time

Danica Patrick will make her debut in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series in the 2012 Daytona 500, the Charlotte Observer and have learned.

Patrick is scheduled to make an announcement at noon today in Phoenix, where she will formally announce a full-time move to NASCAR beginning next season, multiple sources have confirmed.

Patrick's full-time move to NASCAR in 2012 has been widely reported over the last several weeks, but her Cup debut has so far remained unknown.

While Patrick does not plan to run a full Cup schedule until 2013, she will do eight to 10 Cup races next year with Stewart-Haas Racing, beginning with the Daytona 500, a source familiar with the announcement said Wednesday night.

Patrick, a fan favorite in the IndyCar Series, has made three starts at Daytona in the Nationwide series, with a best finish of 10th coming last month. She also led 13 laps in that race.

Patrick will run her Nationwide schedule, as she has the past two seasons, with JR Motorsports and all Cup races will be run out of SHR. will sponsor all of Patrick's NASCAR races, sources said.


JJ primed for Chase

The Chase for the Sprint Cup title begins in less than a month, which means it's time to revisit what has become NASCAR's annual, season-ending question: Can anyone beat Jimmie Johnson?

The five-time defending champion finished a solid second last weekend at Michigan, and although he's won only once on the Sprint Cup circuit this year, Johnson is second in the standings just 10 points behind Kyle Busch.

"The thing that I've been able to pull back on and fall on was my past history," Johnson said. "I'm very interested to see how this Chase is going to go. I think it's the hardest one to predict."


Emerling takes fifth

Orchard Park's Patrick Emerling placed fifth in Wednesday's UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Whelen Modified Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The race was won by Ryan Newman for the second year in a row.