TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Danica Patrick and Johanna Long are in similar boats. Both are female Chevrolet drivers trying to build careers in male-dominated NASCAR.
Someday maybe they’ll even meet.
Patrick makes her Talladega Superspeedway debut in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race starting in the 17th spot. Long starts seven spots back.
They’re not particularly interested in the inevitable comparisons. Patrick says pretty much all she knows about the 19-year-old rookie is that “she has a lot of strong qualifying runs.”
Long says the two see each other during driver introductions but have never spoken. Asked if they’re rivals, Long gives a sheepish, “No.”
Patrick has started four times at the other restrictor plate track, Daytona International Speedway. She’s got one top-10 finish and won the pole there this year before running into early trouble.