Kansas Speedway in Kansas City has been a roller coaster of emotion for Danica Patrick in her career.
In 2005, she won her first of three pole positions in the IndyCar Series and finished 11th or better in all but one start. She qualified third in 2008 and 2009 and finished fifth the latter year.
Her move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series produced solid results as she qualified 15th and finished 15th in 2011 and then started 13th and finished 10th one year later.
But Patrick’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career has been a bit of a struggle at the 1.5-mile oval, including last fall’s race when she got loose and crashed in turn one – on the first lap.
Her best finished was 25th last spring, so she’s hoping she can improve on that in Saturday night’s 5-hour Energy 400 Sprint Cup race at Kansas. One thing that will be different is the race will take place at night for the first time.
Patrick is hoping to carry momentum to Kansas from Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where Sunday she led six laps in the Aaron’s 499, becoming the first woman to lead at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
She finished 22nd at Talladega after overheating issues caused her to fall back a bit, but the car remained in one piece and will most likely be used again soon.
But now, the attention is to Kansas and she is hoping that her good run at Talladega will lead to a good finish Saturday night.
Patrick is hoping to become the first woman to lead at Kansas – and bring home a good result.