Danica makes RIR NASCAR debut

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two years ago RIR said goodbye to open wheel racing.  It was not enough action at the "Action Track".  Last month, Danica Patrick made the same decision, for the same reason, and now she's in Richmond for her first stock car race.

Patrick has run five IRL races at RIR.  She started racing in the Nationwide Series last year but did not make the two visits to Richmond.

She said in an interview Thursday in her hotel in Richmond, that she didn't feel any pressure to leave IRL - she could just follow her heart.  That advice brought her to the series that she felt was the most fun.  That old adage that rubbin' is racin' was more fun than the IRL's version of rubbin' is crashin' and flippin'.

Patrick said she'll rely on her crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and some of her friends in the garage on how to attack RIR on Friday night.  She will drive the #7 GoDaddy Chevrolet in the Nationwide Race.  She will drive an entire Nationwide schedule in that JR Motorsports car, and then also drive in select Cup races for Stewart-Haas Motorsports.

Patrick is also a national spokesperson for Drive7COPD, an organization that helps to raise money and awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - which includes serious lung diseases emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Patrick's grandmother died at the age of 61 from COPD.  There will be opportunities for NASCAR fans to have free screenings for COPD at RIR all weekend.

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