Earning Their Stripes! Danica Patrick, Travis Pastrana to Make Debuts at Darlington Raceway


DARLINGTON, S.C. (April 28, 2012) – The Lady in Black is already on the minds of two of the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ most recognizable drivers, Danica Patrick and Travis Pastrana.

After successfully navigating the three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway oval last night, the two drivers are already thinking about the track Too Tough to Tame, when they visit Darlington on May 11 for the upcoming Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200.

Of course, much of the talk is also about whether Patrick will make the field for her second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington on May 12. Patrick is well aware of what Darlington entails and knows that experience is a key factor in taming the Lady in Black.

"I've got to do a few laps in anything around Darlington, I've heard, before I get out there in a car," Patrick told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday after Nationwide Series practice at Richmond. "I'll make sure I get there the day before...get a rental out there and just kind of run around.

“The point of this process and the point of choosing Darlington was to go to the toughest tracks and get the toughest ones out of the way, the ones that take a lot of tries before you really get comfortable there and just get the process going,” Patrick said. “I know it's going to be hard. I know there's going to be some frustrating moments and some moments that I'm probably going to feel a little embarrassed, but I'm there to get my Darlington stripes and move along.”

For Pastrana, after successfully racing at Richmond, the Lady in Black is up next on his seven-race schedule Nationwide Series schedule. The extreme sports legend and veteran of the X Games will head to a venue that is vastly different. Darlington is known as a track that doesn’t go easy on first-time competitors with many regularly glancing the wall, earning them their first Darlington stripe.

Although Pastrana has never raced on the high banks of the famed Darlington Raceway, he received an important lesson on how to tame the Lady in Black from legendary driver David Pearson back on March 31. Pearson holds the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Darlington (10) and most poles (12) among other track records.

“I appreciated all the advice he gave me,” Pastrana said. “I’m still learning the sport of NASCAR so to get some great advice from a legend like Mr. Pearson will be extremely beneficial for me when I get to Darlington Raceway for the May 11 Nationwide Series race.”

With both drivers making their Darlington debuts in less than two weeks, fans will have one of very few chances to see both drivers at the same time.

“With Travis running just a limited seven-race schedule, this is the perfect opportunity for fans to come out and see them compete together in the Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington on May 11,” Darlington President Chris Browning said. “It was great seeing both drivers battle door-to-door last night in Richmond and hopefully we’ll see something very similar here in just 13 short days.

“We’ll also see if Danica will make the Sprint Cup Series field and compete in her second Cup race at Darlington in the Bojangles’ Southern 500. I can almost guarantee that no matter what they’ll both be earning their Darlington stripes!,” Browning said.

Tickets to the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 on May 12 and Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 on Friday, May 11 can be purchased by calling 866-459-7223 or by visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com. Remember, kids 17 and under are half off for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 and FREE for the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 in general admission.

Darlington Raceway, or the track Too Tough to Tame as it is known to many, is where the purest of NASCAR competition meets true southern hospitality. A NASCAR staple since 1950, Darlington Raceway has seen some of motorsports most talented drivers thunder to Gatorade Victory Lane. On Mother’s Day weekend, May 11-12, 2012, NASCAR’s biggest stars return to battle the track Too Tough To Tame in the Sprint Cup Series Southern 500® and Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200.

You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame.

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