Danica Patrick fills 10-race schedule

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kansas Speedway will fill the final slot in Danica Patrick's 10-race Sprint Cup schedule in 2012.

The 1.5-mile track was chosen in part because there will be an additional day of practice before the Oct. 21 Hollywood Casino 400 race to prepare for the new surface that is being installed.

"With the testing rules the way they are, we can't test with her at tracks where NASCAR's top three series compete," said Greg Zipadelli, the competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing and Patrick's race strategist in Cup. "That extra day of testing will be huge for her.

"With the amount of 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule, it made sense to have her test at Kansas to better prepare her for 2013."

Patrick, who is competing full time in the Nationwide Series, is expected to drive full time in Cup for SHR next year. She is very familiar with Kansas Speedway, having competed there six times in the IndyCar Series and finishing 15th in her lone Nationwide appearance there.

There was speculation Patrick might add Indianapolis to her schedule, but she squelched that in May. At the time she thought Homestead-Miami Speedway was a possibility, but in the end Kansas Speedway made more sense.

"I've always liked racing at Kansas Speedway," Patrick said in a statement. "The extra day of testing will be very beneficial, not only to prepare for the race weekend, but to learn for the rest of 2012 and looking ahead to 2013."

Patrick made her Sprint Cup debut in February at the Daytona 500. In addition to Kansas, she still has races remaining this season at Bristol, Atlanta, Chicago, Dover, Texas and Phoenix.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.