Fans vote Patrick into Sprint All-Star race
Danica Patrick climbs into her race car before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Showdown auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
Danica Patrick waits in her race car before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Showdown auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carl Edwards is introduced at the NASCAR All-Star auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Saturday, May 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Danica Patrick greets fans after being introduced for the NASCAR All-Star auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Saturday, May 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
CONCORD, N.C. – Danica Patrick said she can’t explain why she’s popular among NASCAR fans. She’s just happy to have their support.
Patrick got a spot in the Sprint All-Star race last night through fan voting.
“I’ve said many times that I’m not sure what it is people like or see in me or why they cheer for me,” Patrick said after thanking her fans for voting her into her first All-Star race, which was delayed by rain for 41 minutes after 13 of 90 laps.
“To some degree being different, being a girl, there are things there. But what is it? There are a lot of different and unique drivers out there. All I know is that I try do my best to be myself all of the time. I try to be honest with the fans and at the end of the day, even if they don’t agree with what I say or do, they can respect my honesty.”
Patrick’s crew added a black and white sign to her No. 10 Chevy that reads: “Thank you fans!”
The 31-year-old Patrick hasn’t experienced much success at the Sprint Cup level.
She has only one top-10 finish in 21 career Sprint Cup starts. She’s captured one pole – the season-opening Daytona 500.
Patrick ran 10 Sprint Cup races last year in NASCAR’s top series. She ran mostly on the Nationwide Series where she was voted their most popular driver.
This year she’s 28th in the Sprint Cup point standings after 11 races.
Patrick competed in the Sprint Showdown night, but finished ninth and failed to qualify for the $1 million Sprint All-Star race. Only the top two drivers advanced to the All-Star race – Jamie McMurray and Patrick’s boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Patrick said when it became obvious she wasn’t going to finish in the top two she decided not to make any rash moves, knowing she had a good chance to make it in on the fan vote.
“I can’t move on with a crashed car,” Patrick said. “There is nothing to be gained by trying something desperate in the last five laps. I suppose at that point in time you just say finish the race and there is nothing to gain.”