Danica Patrick to run 12 in Nationwide

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Danica Patrick will increase her NASCAR Nationwide Series participation to 12 races this year in addition to competing full-time in the IZOD IndyCar Series, JR Motorsports announced Wednesday.

Patrick, who added the Nationwide Series last year with JR Motorsports to her schedule, will compete in the first four Nationwide Series races -- Daytona (Feb. 19), Phoenix (Feb. 26), Las Vegas (March 5) and Bristol, Tenn. (March 19).

With a loaded schedule, the remainder of her Nationwide involvement will come late and at the back end of the schedule -- Chicagoland (June 4), Daytona (July 1), Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal, Aug. 20), Richmond (Sept. 9), and Kansas (Oct. 8), Texas (Nov. 5), Phoenix (Nov. 12) and Homestead-Miami (Nov. 19).

"This is going to be an exciting year in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet," the 28-year-old Patrick said in a statement. "I have a much different perspective heading into this season. I know a little more of what to expect, and I'm not as out of my element."

Patrick scored a career-best fifth-place start and 19th-place finish in last year's Nationwide finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.