Wednesday, Feb 01

Danica Patrick: Summer Stretch Begins

With the two weeks of Charlotte complete, the competitors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now begin the summer stretch of races, the majority of which are conducted in the northern part of the country.

For Danica Patrick, it means a lot of races at tracks she is familiar with, just not in the Sprint Cup Series. Of the next eight races on the schedule, Patrick has raced at seven of them in one series or another, save for Pocono (Pa) Raceway, sight of next week’s Sprint Cup race.

Following Pocono, the series heads to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Patrick competed at all three tracks in the IZOD IndyCar Series and drove in NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Michigan and Kentucky.

From Kentucky, the schedule heads back to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where Patrick started on the pole, led five laps and finished eighth in February’s 55th Daytona 500. The eight-race summer stretch concludes with races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – two tracks Patrick has driven in both IndyCar and Nationwide Series competition.

In seven Indianapolis 500s, Patrick scored six top-10 finishes including a third-place result in 2009 – the best finish ever for a woman in the history of the race.

The summer stretch kicks off this week with the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), started 38th and finished 28th in September 2012 in her only Sprint Cup start at the concrete mile oval.

She’s made three Nationwide Series starts at Dover and finished 16th in September 2012. Patrick started 13th and finished sixth in a September 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Dover. She led three laps in the event to become the first female driver to ever lead laps in the series.

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