Danica Patrick is making a move forward in her racing career in 2012, with plans to enter at least eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. And of those events, one will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway, making the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR night race weekend even more of a marquee event on the 2012 schedule.
She is also slated to run the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series season for JR Motorsports, meaning fans at AMS on Labor Day Weekend will have the chance to see Patrick race two times during the same weekend.
Atlanta will be the fourth scheduled event on Patrick's Cup slate. She'll drive a No. 10 Chevrolet fielded by Stewart-Hass Racing. The Daytona 500, Darlington and the August night race at Bristol Motor Speedway will precede the AdvoCare 500 on Patrick's schedule.
"Our goal with Danica's schedule is to try and maximize her 10 races with us so that she's as prepared as she can possibly be for a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013," said Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Hass Racing. "In the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, she'll handle short tracks, intermediate 1.5-mile ovals, and some unique tracks like Darlington and Phoenix. The point is to expose her to as many challenges as possible so that she'll know what to expect in 2013."
Patrick, however, won't be the first female to compete in NASCAR's top division at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Shawna Robinson raced at AMS in March 2002, starting 31st and finished 34th. Janet Guthrie, regarded in some circles as the most successful female to have raced in NASCAR, competed at Atlanta three times, her best showing being a finish of tenth in the spring of 1978 after qualifying 23rd.