Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The lady in green is set to take on the
"Lady in Black."
Danica Patrick is scheduled to make her second Sprint Cup Series start this
weekend at Darlington Raceway. Patrick is guaranteed a starting position in
Saturday night's 500-mile race since her No. 10 Tommy Baldwin Racing team is
currently 33rd in the owner point standings.
David Reutimann's 22nd-place finish last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway
helped keep the No. 10 team in the top-35 in points.
Driving her green-colored GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, Patrick made her series debut
in February at Daytona International Speedway. Patrick was involved in a
multi-car crash that occurred on the second lap of the Daytona 500. She
returned to the track 60 laps behind and wound up finishing 38th.
Darlington, a 1.366-mile oval, is one of the most challenging racetracks in
NASCAR, with its unique egg-shaped layout. Patrick will certainly have her
hands full, and she'll probably earn more than one Darlington stripe during
"I know it's going to be hard," Patrick said. "I know there's going to be some
frustrating moments and some moments that I'm probably going to feel a little
embarrassed, but I'm there to get my Darlington stripes and move along."
After Darlington, Patrick is scheduled to compete at Charlotte (May 27),
Bristol (August 25), Atlanta (September 2), Chicagoland (Sept. 16), Dover
(Sept. 30), Texas (November 4) and Phoenix (Nov. 11). The 10th and final race
on her 2012 Sprint Cup schedule has yet to be determined. Patrick is hoping to
run in the series full-time next year.
"The point of this process and the point of choosing Darlington was to go to
the toughest tracks and get the toughest ones out of the way, the ones that
take a lot of tries before you really get comfortable there and just get the
process going," she said.
Patrick has yet to compete in any race at Darlington. She will get familiar
with the track during Friday's Sprint Cup practice and qualifying sessions.
Patrick will then race in the Nationwide event there that night.
"I've got to do a few laps in anything around Darlington I've heard before I
get out there in a car," she said. "I'll make sure I get there the day before
and find someone who's going to let me out there, even if I have to be on a
pedal bike. Get a rental out there and just kind of ride around."
While there is plenty of attention surrounding Patrick's next start in Cup,
there's also a lot of hype about Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch returning to
Darlington one year after their post-race brawl there.
In its advertising campaign for the Bojangles' Southern 500, Darlington
Raceway is promoting this year's event as the rematch between Harvick and
Both drivers tangled multiple times during the closing laps in last year's
race there. Harvick ended up hitting the wall the final time they made
contact. After the race concluded, Harvick and Busch duked it out on pit road.
NASCAR responded days later by issuing each one of them a $25,000 fine and a
probation period of one month.
When asked about his thoughts of the track advertising this race as round two
between Busch and Harvick, Busch replied, "I think it's dumb; it's pretty
In fact, both drivers would rather not be at the center of controversy.
"It's easier not to be in the middle of a controversy to tell you the truth,"
Harvick said. "With the way that the media and the things work now, it's just
easier to not to have to answer the questions from your sponsors or your team.
It puts all the guys on your team in a bad spot because everybody is answering
When Harvick and Busch were exchanging pleasantries on pit road, Regan Smith
was celebrating in victory lane at Darlington. Smith gambled on fuel late in
the race and then held off Carl Edwards by 0.2 seconds at the finish for his
first Sprint Cup win in his 105th start.
"Winning the Southern 500 last year was a memorable milestone for our team,"
Smith said. "It's still unbelievable that we pulled it off. I recently tweeted
that I would rather win the Southern 500 then win the lottery, and I am not
changing my stance on that."
Forty-six teams are on the preliminary entry list for this race.
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Saturday, May 12. Race: Bojangles' Southern
500. Site: Darlington Raceway. Track: 1.366-mile oval. Start time: 7 p.m.(ET).
Laps: 367. Miles: 501.3. 2011 Winner: Regan Smith. Television: FOX. Radio:
Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.
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