- The Can-Am 500k will mark Danica Patrick’s 153rd career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and her ninth at Phoenix International Raceway. Patrick’s top Sprint Cup finish at the track is a 16th-place effort she earned last fall. In addition, Patrick has competed in five NASCAR Xfinity Series events at Phoenix, earning a top finish of 10th in November 2012. She also made one IndyCar Series start at the mile oval, which resulted in a 15th-place finish in 2005.
- Returning Home: Sunday’s race at Phoenix will be a homecoming for Todd Drakulich, the front tire carrier for the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team. Drakulich hails from Tucson, Arizona, located nearly 140 miles southeast of the track.
- Nature’s Bakery Fantern at Phoenix: Kami Sutton, a NASCAR fan who resides in Bothell, Washington, will join the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team Sunday at Phoenix as the final Nature’s Bakery Fantern of the 2016 season. The Fantern program was launched in January to energize fans with an opportunity to participate in a unique, at-track journey with Patrick and the No. 10 team. Sutton’s race-day experience will include spending time with the Nature’s Bakery pit crew, a tour of the Sprint Cup garage and pit area, meeting Patrick and watching the race from pit road. The fan internship program ran throughout the 2016 season and Fanterns have shared social media content from their at-track adventure utilizing the #Fantern hashtag.
- Dallas Dogs Available: A plush version of Dallas Stenhouse, the 2-year-old miniature Siberian Husky that belongs to Patrick and her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is available for sale. Race fans can purchase their own Dallas plush dog at the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team store in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the SHR online store and at Shop.DanicaPatrick.com. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit animal charities.
- Patrick Partners with Williams-Sonoma to Benefit No Kid Hungry: Williams-Sonoma recently launched its latest campaign to benefit No Kid Hungry and, as part of the effort, the retailer revealed its “Cook for a Cause” program, which includes a line of limited-edition, celebrity-designed spatulas. Williams-Sonoma will donate 30 percent of the retail price to No Kid Hungry, which can connect a child with 10 healthy meals for just $1. This year’s spatulas feature illustrations contributed by Jimmy Kimmel, Chrissy Teigen, Trisha Yearwood, Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten, Michael Voltaggio, Ayesha Curry, American Girl and Patrick. The limited-edition collection is on sale in stores and online: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/new/new-no-kid-hungry/.
- For the History Books: Since Patrick began competing in NASCAR on a part-time basis in 2010, she has made plenty of history. Here is a recap of how she has altered the record books through the years:
- Became the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500.
- Led laps 90 to 91 of the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race. She also led laps 127 to 129.
- Became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green (Daytona 2013). Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.
- Finished 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
- Finished 10th in 2012 Xfinity Series points, the highest points finish by a woman in the history of NASCAR’s top three series (Sprint Cup, Xfinity, Truck).
- Competed in every Sprint Cup race in 2013, becoming the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.
- Became the first female to compete in the nonpoints Sprint All-Star race (2013) and Sprint Unlimited (2014).
- Have the most starts of any female in Sprint Cup Series competition.
- With six top-10 finishes, holds the record for the most top-10 finishes of any female in Sprint Cup Series competition.
- History Maker in IndyCar: Patrick became the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series in April 2008 by winning the IndyCar Series Japan Indy 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan.
- Big Stage: In seven Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick finished in the top-10 six times, including a third-place result in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman in the historic race.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!