Hot on the heels of Juan Pablo Montoya's decision to leave the bright lights of Formula 1 for the barbecue pits of NASCAR at the end of the 2006 season is a report that Danica Patrick's father and manager, T.J. Patrick, is currently in exploratory talks with some NASCAR teams for his daughter to join the NEXTEL Cup circuit as early as next season.

Patrick's IRL contract with Rahal-Letterman Racing ends after this season, and her father/manager is also in talks with other IRL teams. T.J. and Bev Patrick, however, attended NASCAR's USG Sheetrock 400 last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway and were guests of Roush Racing in the garage area. Roush runs Fords and features drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray.

So what's the deal, is NASCAR giving away free 50-inch plasma TVs for signing up or has America's favorite form of racing become the most lucrative deal around?

[Source: ESPN]