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July 22, 2014

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Photo Gallery: Danica Patrick to become first female NASCAR driver today?

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IS Photography

Emeril Lagasse and Danica Patrick at Lagasse’s Stadium in the Palazzo.

In Photos: Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick. Launch slideshow »
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Danica Patrick.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Insiders expect the racecar world to be shaken up today with the surprise announcement that Danica Patrick will become NASCAR’s first female driver. The Indy 500 racer is expected to sign a two-year-deal with JR Motorsports, the NASCAR Nationwide series operation owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I am reliably told that Danica will take to the track in 12 or 13 Nationwide races next year, including the big race here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the last weekend in February. Danica’s first race should be the prestigious Daytona 500 run.

A regular Las Vegas visitor to Pole Position Raceway opposite the Palms and a supporter of race events here, Danica will drive car No. 7, which will have GoDaddy.com as its main sponsor. Danica was the 2005 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race.

Our contributing photographer Tom Donoghue compiled this gallery of Danica for Vegas DeLuxe, with a few photos of her new boss Dale thrown in for good measure! Danica will continue to race full time for Andretti Green driving an Indy car.

Expect the NASCAR news to make coast-to-coast headlines later today, with sports writers lining up on both sides of the decision to have a female take on the male stars of the sport and the near 200 mph race skills.

I think it will add more glamour and excitement to the 2010 race events. It’s sure going to get a lot more media coverage. If we have female fighter pilots in the skies, a woman on the racetrack has to be a good thing!

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.

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