Danica Patrick Hoping to Enjoy the Marathon Coca-Cola 600

Danica Patrick Hoping to Enjoy the Marathon Coca-Cola 600 Getty Images

From 2005 to 2011, Danica Patrick looked forward to the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Memorial Day weekend.

She led 19 laps and finished fourth in 2005 and scored five other top-10 finishes, including a career-best third in 2009.

And with the race averaging about three to three-and-a-half hours, she was usually done with everything by 5 p.m. as the race starts at noon.

Now, 5 p.m. is about when her day really gets started as she prepares for Sunday’s marathon Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

The race begins at 6 p.m. and can last up to four or five hours, depending on the cautions brought out in NASCAR’s longest race.

But while the race lasts a long time, Patrick and her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing appear to be ready to go.

Two weeks ago, Patrick enjoyed a career-best seventh-place finish at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. She drove in the top-10 for the entire race and had arguably the best performance of her Sprint Cup career.

She’s driven well before, with a 12th-place run last spring at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and an eighth-place run from the pole in the 2013 Daytona 500. But never on an intermediate track has she run so smoothly, and she definitely raised the eyebrows of more than a few observers.

Patrick drove a brand new car at Kansas and will drive another brand new one this week. And she’s hoping that car will bring even more success to the GoDaddy team.

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Steven B. Wilson

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