Originally posted on Captain Thunder Racing  |  Last updated 5/6/13
Last year, Danica Patrick finished 31st at Darlington, in only her second NASCAR Sprint Cup start. Now, 18-starts later she returns to the 'Lady In Black' looking for another shot at the track 'Too Tough To Tame'. Patrick has had an up and down year so far. She kicked off the 2013 season with a solid run at Daytona and an 8th place finish, but she has sputtered since, finishing 25th or worse in 8 of her last 9 starts. Patrick's only other top-15 finish is a 12th at Martinsville, another tough shorttrack. She currently sits 27th in Sprint Cup points after a disappointing 33rd place finish Sunday at Talladega. But, Darlington could change all of that. A solid finish, or even better - a Darlington win, can shape a drivers career. Darlington has a way of defining careers. Drivers either 'get it' or they don't. Dale Earnhardt won here nine times, and David Pearson tamed Darlington ten times. Both are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Could Patrick score her first career win this weekend in Darlington? Six drivers have done just that. With his victory in 2011, Regan Smith joined an exclusive list of drivers who earned their first career victory at Darlington. In addition to Smith, inaugural winner Johnny Mantz, Nelson Stacy, Larry Frank, Terry Labonte and Lake Speed all scored their first career wins on the egg shaped oval. Strangely enough though, only Labonte and Stacy went on to win more races. So can Danica take the checkers Saturday night? Perhaps, but she might have her hands full with boyfriend and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Stenhouse Jr. has had three starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Darlington, with two top-10 finishes. - Captain Thunder www.CaptainThunderRacing.com
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