Stewart Haas Racing buys owner points from No.49 team for Danica Patrick


Credit/ Getty NASCAR

It has happened again – Danica Patrick has been given a free pass into NASCAR, at least for two events at the beginning of the season.

On Friday, Stewart Haas Racing announced they had made a deal with Robinson/Blakeney Racing and acquired points from the No. 49 so that Patrick would not miss the races at Phoenix and Las Vegas. RBR was 42nd in owner points overall in 2012 – so the points exchange may not help as much at Daytona, but will help at the other two tracks in case of inclement weather.

“At Daytona, we know the No. 10 team needs to either qualify on speed or race its way into the Daytona 500 via a strong finish in the Budweiser Duel,” Frood said.

“But if rain cancels qualifying at either Phoenix or Las Vegas, our No. 10 team will be well positioned to earn a provisional starting spot and race on Sunday.”

Patrick is running full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the first time in 2013. She drove the No. 10 car in 10 races last year through a partnership between Stewart-Haas and Tommy Baldwin Racing – who will keep the points (33rd overall) entering this season for their two car team.

“Everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing continues to work tirelessly to ensure that all of our teams are as prepared as possible to start the 2013 season,” SHR Executive Vice President Brett Frood said in a statement. “In the case of the No. 10 team, providing a foundation of points for which the team can start the year was very important.

“As optimistic as we are regarding our prospects for this year, one element we cannot control is the weather. … It’s basically insurance for the first three races of the year, where provisionals are based on 2012 owner points.”

Patrick’s best finish was 17th at Phoenix in 2012 in the Cup series. Her best finish in the Nationwide series was 8th.