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Patrick secures Daytona 500 place
1 February 2012
Danica Patrick will line up in the field for the Daytona 500 after the Stewart-Haas Racing team entered into a partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing for her limited 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
TBR will field the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in all of her ten races having transferred the points it secured with its #36 entry last year, which finished 33rd in the Sprint Cup standings.
"Those points are Tommy Baldwin Racing's. They're not hers," explained team boss Tommy Baldwin of the unusual arrangement. "She's not getting them from anybody, she's driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing."
The deal means that the #10, which will be driven for the balance of the season by David Reutimann, is assured of a place on the grid for at least the first five races of the 2012 season.
“We're very proud of what we've established at Tommy Baldwin Racing, and the opportunity to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing and aid in the development of Danica Patrick is a testament to all the hard work we've put in over the years,” Baldwin said. “Danica will have a great teammate in Dave Blaney, who has been instrumental in getting our race team to where it is today.
“With David Reutimann driving the #10 car in the races where Danica is not, the team will remain in a strong and competitive position throughout the year.”
Even though TBR takes over as the #10 car owner of record for the whole season, Stewart-Haas Racing's new competition director Greg Zipadelli will still be Patrick's crew chief for all of her ten Cup appearances.
"Working with Tommy will be like old times,” added Zipadelli. "To finally be able to work with each other and help Danica Patrick make a successful transition from IndyCars to stock cars is a challenge we're both looking forward to."
Alongside her partial season in Sprint Cup, Patrick will contest the full Nationwide Series season with JR Motorsports having moved over to NASCAR from IndyCar.
Blaney himself will now have to qualify for the Daytona 500 on speed alone, despite having earned the car owner points for TBR in the first place.
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