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Patrick wins Sprint Fan Vote

May 18, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Patrick wins Sprint Fan Vote
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in Saturday night's main event

Related: Live leaderboard | Minute-by-Minute All-Star blog

CONCORD, N.C. –- Danica Patrick earned a berth in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, advancing into the annual non-points event by winning the Sprint Fan Vote.

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It marks the first Sprint All-Star Race appearance for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver who is competing in her first full season in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.

Patrick finished ninth in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap last-chance qualifier for the main event. She was one of 23 drivers competing in the Showdown, and qualified seventh in her familiar green No. 10 Chevrolet.

Race winner Jamie McMurray and runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also earned starting spots in the 90-lap feature race by virtue of their finishes in the preliminary race.

Patrick, 31, has 21 career starts in the Cup series, with a best finish of eighth in this year’s season-opening Daytona 500. She became the first female to win a pole position in the series when she qualified No. 1 for the 500.

According to Sprint officials, the top five drivers receiving votes were (alphabetically) Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Patrick, Stenhouse and Martin Truex Jr.

During a press conference Friday, Patrick said she hoped to earn a spot in the field based on her on-track result, but if that wasn’t the case, she would cross her fingers and hope for the best.

“I feel like I am very lucky to have so many great fans and all my partners and everybody involved are doing a great job of promoting the fan vote,” she said. “Hopefully that is there, but again, I would rather just focus on racing my way in.”

Kasey Kahne is the only driver to win the Sprint All-Star Race (2008) after advancing into the event by winning the fan vote.

 

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