JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Kurt Busch believes Danica Patrick will be better equipped to compete in NASCAR once she makes a full-time switch to stock car racing.

Busch, the 2004 champion in NASCAR’s top series, said Patrick will have a hard time making the most of her talent in NASCAR without making a commitment to the sport.

“Right now, she’s very limited because she’s still committed to the IRL schedule,” Busch said. “This is just a work in progress. We’ll have to wait and see the final product when she decides what road she’s going to go down.”

Patrick, who will be racing in Friday night’s Nationwide series race at Chicagoland Speedway, doesn’t necessarily disagree.

“If you want to be really good at anything you have to obviously centralize your focus,” she said. “But at this point in time, I have a tremendous amount to learn. Even if it was full-time, would it be going better? Maybe. But it wouldn’t be some big, dramatic — I don’t think — difference.”

Patrick doesn’t expect to deviate from her plan of racing part-time in NASCAR while also running a full IndyCar schedule anytime soon.

“We’re going to do the schedule like this for this year and next year, and then we’ll sort of assess where we’re at and what we want to do in the future,” Patrick said.

Patrick has struggled in her first four Nationwide races this season, finishing no better than 30th.

Busch said he expects Patrick to go full-time in NASCAR down the road, joking that such an announcement might be NASCAR’s answer to the LeBron James free agent free-for-all.

“She’ll probably have a one-hour ESPN prime-time special when she wants to announce it,” Busch said.

McMurray wins LifeLock 400 pole

JOLIET, Ill. — Jamie McMurray has won the pole position for Saturday night’s race at Chicagoland Speedway.

It is the third pole of the season and sixth of his career for McMurray, who won the Daytona 500 in February but has been struggling of late. McMurray turned a lap of 183.542 mph in his Chevrolet.

He was followed by the Chevrolets of Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart. Greg Biffle qualified fourth in a Ford, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. in a Dodge.

Allmendinger, Petty say spat is over

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — AJ Allmendinger says he’s trying to move on from his confrontation with car owner and NASCAR legend Richard Petty last week.

After crashing during Saturday’s race at Daytona International Speedway, Allmendinger had a heated exchange with Petty in the garage area, turning his back on his boss and storming away from the seven-time NASCAR champion.

“We had a really fast car last week. I was disappointed,” Allmendinger said in comments issued through a Richard Petty Motorsports team spokesperson at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday.

“I’m the hardest one on myself. We’re both passionate and we were both frustrated. And I’d rather have him (Petty) frustrated than not care at all. We’ve definitely moved on and we’re ready to pick back up here at Chicago.”

Allmendinger had strong cars at both Daytona races but finished outside the top 30 both times.

“Daytona is behind us and we’re focusing on this weekend,” team vice president Robbie Loomis said. “AJ’s a hard-charging and fierce competitor and he’s as passionate as anybody out there. I can’t describe how bad that guy wants to win and he will win. It’s just a matter of when.”

Johnson makes long commute after birth of child

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — NASCAR champion and new father Jimmie Johnson plans to fly home to Charlotte after a qualifying session at Chicagoland Speedway to spend the night with his family, then return in time for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race.

Johnson’s wife, Chandra, gave birth to a daughter Wednesday. Johnson calls it “the absolute best day of my life” and says he can’t wait to get home.

Johnson makes his living going fast, but he and his wife aren’t setting any speed records when it comes to picking a baby name. They’re calling her “Baby J” for now, and Johnson knows they’ll have to make a decision soon.

As Johnson joked, “The clock is ticking.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.