As NASCAR's Chase for the Cup title playoff opens Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, Danica Patrick plans to make her sixth start of the season in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series.
Patrick, the former IndyCar driver, is racing full-time in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series this year and is making 10 starts at the Cup level in preparation of moving up to the Cup series in 2013.
In each of her first five Cup races this year, Patrick has finished 29th or lower in the 43-car field.
But Patrick and her Cup team, Stewart-Haas Racing, repeatedly have said her Cup races this year are less about her finishes and more about Patrick gaining experience at the Cup level.
The race at Chicagoland, a 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, will mark the first time Patrick has driven a Cup race where she previously had competed in the Izod IndyCar Series.