Of all the tracks Danica Patrick has competed at, she is most associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
In seven Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick finished in the top-10 six times, including a third-place result in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman in the historic race. At Daytona, Patrick won the pole for the February 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and then, one year later, became the first woman ever to win a Sprint Cup pole by taking the top spot for the 55th Daytona 500. She went on to finish eighth in the Daytona 500, the best result ever for a woman in the history of the race.
But while Indianapolis and Daytona have provided plenty of good memories for Patrick, it’s Texas Motor Speedway that has provided the most experience.
Of all the tracks where Patrick will compete in 2013, she has the most starts at Texas, having driven in 13 major-league races – one Sprint Cup, four Nationwide Series, and eight in the IZOD IndyCar Series. And it’s a track she’s taken a liking to in all three divisions.
In last November’s Sprint Cup race at Texas, Patrick started 32nd and finished 24th. It was, at the time, her best career Sprint Cup finish, and it came in her first race with Tony Gibson as her crew chief. In her four Nationwide Series races, Patrick has three top-15 finishes, including an eighth place result in April 2012. In Patrick’s eight IndyCar Series starts at the 1.5-mile oval, she has five top-10 finishes, including a third-place result in June 2007 and second-place finish in June 2010.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), enters Texas with a good deal of confidence after a solid run in her first race of any kind Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. After starting last due to an engine change, then spinning early and going two laps down, Patrick rallied for an incredible 12th-place finish at the .526-mile oval.
Patrick’s top-12 at Martinsville was impressive when considering where other drivers finished in their first races at the .526-mile paperclip – most notably her team owner Tony Stewart, who finished 20th in his first Martinsville start in 1999. Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson finished 35th in his Martinsville debut in 2002. NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace finished 15th and Dale Jarrett finished 14th, both in 1984. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 26th in 2000. Kyle Busch finished 39th in 2005. Matt Kenseth finished 21st and Kurt Busch finished 37th, also in 2000. Fred Lorenzen finished 24th 1956.