As NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams head to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Food City 500, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team are ready to return to the short track where they earned a top-10 finish in last year’s event.
Patrick has raced seven times at Bristol in the Sprint Cup Series and has steadily improved her performance at the track. She finished 29th there in just her fourth career Sprint Cup race in August 2012, but that was hampered by an accident not of her making.
She started 43rd after qualifying was rained out, then calmly moved her way through the field. She was in the top-20 and on the lead lap with 66 laps remaining when her car was hit by another and contacted the inside frontstretch SAFER Barrier.
Patrick finished 28th in March 2013 and then 26th that August. In 2014, she finished 18th in April and ended up 27th in August.
When Patrick and the No. 10 team visited Bristol for last year’s Food City 500, she started 26th and overcame a number of hurdles during the race to score a ninth-place finish. That effort marked the sixth top-10 of her career and set the record for the most top-10 finishes by a female in Sprint Cup competition.
In the August event at the track, Patrick was hampered by a pit road speeding penalty and a loose wheel, which relegated her to a 27th-place finish.
Entering Sunday’s race, Patrick and the No. 10 team have already enjoyed short-track success in 2016. Earlier this month, Patrick ran as high as seventh before handling issues relegated her to a 16th-place finish in the Martinsville 500 at the .526-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
With Patrick’s past performance at Bristol and recent short-track results, the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet team are looking to rekindle those successes in Sunday’s Food City 500.