Patrick to make NASCAR debut on Saturday

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - IndyCar driver Danica Patrick will make her NASCAR debut at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, her team announced on Monday.

Patrick will drive for the first time on NASCAR's second-tier circuit, the Nationwide Series, after finishing a confidence-boosting sixth in Saturday's ARCA race that was her stock car debut.

"Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do," Patrick, who plans to run a partial Nationwide schedule this year, said in a statement.

"The ARCA race was a blast, and I'm not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet."

JR Motorsports team general manager Kelley Earnhardt said she was impressed by Patrick's performance in the ARCA event, part of a regional stock car series that uses NASCAR-type cars.

"I think Danica proved to everyone that she can compete in stock cars at a high level," Earnhardt said.