Danica Patrick to make 100th career Sprint Cup start Saturday


This will be a milestone weekend for Danica Patrick at Kentucky Speedway, where she will make her 100th career Sprint Cup start in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.

Patrick will become the first female to reach that marker in NASCAR history, adding to a few other notable accomplishments:

* Her six top-10 finishes rank first time among female drivers.

* She is the only female driver to earn a Sprint Cup pole (2013 Daytona 500).

* She is one of only 16 female drivers who have competed in the Sprint Cup Series.

Patrick’s career-best finish was sixth last August at Atlanta Motor Speedway. She has two top 10s this season: seventh at Martinsville Speedway and ninth at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Patrick is trying to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time in her career. She will enter Saturday ranked 20th, 55 points out of 16th place, which is the cutoff mark to qualify for the Chase on points.

Here are Patrick’s thoughts about racing at Kentucky:

“It’s one of those tracks where I have experience but, obviously, not a lot of it in a stock car,” Patrick said in a team media release. “I’ve been there a lot, but I’ve only run four stock-car races there. I ran a lot of IndyCar races at Kentucky but, obviously, those aren’t really going to benefit me this weekend.

“The track definitely has character to it with the bumps, and we mainly practice during the day and then race at night on Saturday, so the track conditions can change a lot during the race. When you add all that up, it’s a challenging place.

“… It’s a tough place and the pavement is old, but it creates some good racing. Hopefully, we can have a good night.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski