A guaranteed spot for Danica's No. 10 at Daytona. (LAT photo)
Although she will be driving a new Sprint Cup entry for Stewart-Haas Racing this year, Danica Patrick is guaranteed a start in the Daytona 500. Patrick's Stewart-Haas Racing team has obtained points from Tommy Baldwin Racing to guarantee its rookie driver a spot in the starting field. The deal will take the pressure off Patrick for the 150-mile qualifying races, in which she will now be racing merely to determine her starting position.
Baldwin's No. 36 was driven last season by Dave Blaney, and finished inside the top 35 in owner points, which guarantees a starting spot in the first five events of the following season.
Patrick's 10-race Cup schedule this year beyond Daytona includes races at Darlington (May 12), Charlotte (May 27), Bristol (Aug. 25), Atlanta (Sept. 2), Chicagoland (Sept. 16), Dover (Sept. 30), Texas (Nov. 4) and Phoenix (Nov. 11), plus one race yet to be determined. In the 26 races where Patrick is not scheduled to drive, David Reutimann will pilot the Stewart-Haas No. 10 car.