Last weekend’s race in Richmond probably won’t rank high on Danica Patrick’s list of favorite races of 2013. Patrick finished 29th, one place better than where she started, and four laps down from race winner Kevin Harvick.
Patrick was battling a racecar that was loose on entry, tight in the center and loose on exit in the corners. Her team, led by Tony Gibson, made small improvements throughout the race but nothing really brought the car to her.
“We were just so tight in the center of the corner. We just couldn’t loosen the car up enough to make the center work the way we needed to,” Patrick said in in a press release after the race. “Tony Gibson and the Go Daddy guys threw a lot at it, but we just couldn’t get the center quite right. We were loose in, tight center, loose off, but as much as we tried to loosen up the center, we never really affected the entry either.”
In the end, Richmond was another learning experience for the Rookie driver who moves on to Talladega this weekend, the sister track to Daytona. Patrick brought the world of NASCAR into the mainstream media at Daytona when she captured the Pole for the Great American Race and ran in the top-5 all day then dropped to eighth on the last lap. As she heads to Talladega this weekend, she hopes to garnish similar results.
“I feel like I’ve learned some lessons from Daytona about the draft and how that unfolds at the end if you are in the right place at the right time,” she said in her pre-race news release. “I think that, when we talk superspeedway racing, there’s a lot of luck involved. Like I said, right place at the right time … there are a lot of people who have a good chance of winning Talladega, I think. Hopefully, we are one of them at the end of the race. But, we won’t know that until end of the race.”
Gibson and the team are bringing Patrick’s Pole car from Daytona to the race as her primary this weekend so there is no doubt it will be fast. Can Patrick sit on the Pole for the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday? It’s quite possible.
Patrick is pulling double duty this weekend as she gets behind the wheel of the No.34 Turner Scott Motorsports AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet for the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series Race on Saturday. Patrick made her debut in this car at the Drive4COPD 300 in Daytona and was leading laps until what seemed like an engine issue sent her to the garage. She ended the practice sessions yesterday low on the speed charts but was among the fastest running single car laps.
“I really enjoy racing at the superspeedways, and Turner Scott Motorsports has a great superspeedway package,” she said. “We had a great run going in Daytona, and I’m hoping we can pick up where we left off. I have a great crew, and I feel like we have an opportunity to bring home a solid finish for AccuDoc Solutions, Go Daddy and TSM.”
Patrick was busy off the track before heading to Talladega. Earlier this week, she attended the Chicago Blackhawks game as they faced off against the Minnesota Wild in the Stanley Cup playoffs. She participated in the “Shoot the Puck” contest between the 2nd and 3rd periods. Dressed in an oversized Blackhawks jersey with her name and number on the back and white skinny jeans, Patrick made her first shot without any problems but couldn’t quite make the others (Check out the video here).
With two races this weekend and also a contest judging on her hands, Patrick is going to be busy at Talladega. Can she get her first stock car win this weekend? The possibility is not out of the question. Patrick is definitely one of the stronger Super Speedway racers in both series this weekend and although she hasn’t come out victorious quite yet, it is entirely possible.
Want to see Nightline’s piece on Patrick and her crew at Martinsville this season? Click here.