Danica Patrick probably has one of the best records of a driver never to win the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Six top-10 finishes in seven races, including a fourth in 2005 and a third in 2009.
Five times she started in the top-10, and she basically holds just about every record for a woman in the 500.
But having focused on her big transition to NASCAR since 2011, the 500 is now just a memory.
Which brings us to the Brickyard 400 – the 160-lap stock car race which she debuted in last year, finishing 30th. And while it’s 100 miles shorter than the 500, a lot of people who have dreamed about winning the 500 have actually won the 400.
Jeff Gordon, a four-time winner of the Brickyard 400, grew up wanting to race IndyCars before he moved south to take on NASCAR. John Menard tried unsuccessfully for 20 years to win the Indy 500 as an owner, then won the ‘400’ with son Paul in 2011. Jimmie Johnson, who was a fan of four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, thought about driving in the 500 but has managed to win the 400 four times.
Patrick’s teammates have experienced Indy, as well, with Tony Stewart failing to win the 500 in five starts, but capturing the 400 in 2005 and 2007. Kevin Harvick also grew up as a Mears fan and took the checkered flag in the 400 in 2003. And Kurt Busch has never won either race but this past May attempted “The Double,” finishing sixth in the Indy 500 and 40th later that day in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. An engine failure prematurely ended his attempt to complete The Double at Charlotte.
Patrick and crew chief Tony Gibson will bring a brand new No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS to the Brickyard 400 as chassis No. 10-894 has never been used. When they brought brand new Chassis No. 10-837 to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May, Patrick started ninth and finished seventh.
Patrick hopes that luck will continue at Indy and she can score another top-10 finish at a place that has been so good to her in the last decade.