|Danica Patrick had best run of her Cup career at Kansas|
On Friday, May 9, Danica Patrick, driver of the GoDaddy Chevrolet, placed 26th in the first practice and 23rd in the final practice for Saturday night’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval.
But the right adjustments from crew chief Tony Gibson and some helpful hints from teammate Kevin Harvick helped her earn the ninth spot on the starting grid in impressive fashion during Friday evening’s qualifying session.
On Saturday, May 10, Patrick raised a few eyebrows by running in the top-10 for the majority of the event, running as high as third late in the race and finishing a career-best seventh.
This Saturday night, Chassis No. 10-837 returns once again to take part in another race on a 1.5-mile oval, this time at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. And Patrick is hoping it can produce the same results it did at Kansas, if not better.
She’s had success at Kentucky before, notably a pole in the 2005 IndyCar race and four top-10 finishes in seven IndyCar starts. Her NASCAR Nationwide Series credentials aren’t been bad, either, with finishes of 12th and 14th in two starts in 2012.
Patrick is on a better pace this year than last as, through 16 races in 2013, her average Sprint Cup starting position was 32.0 while this year she averages 21.8.
It’s the same with finishes as this year she’s placed 18th or better five times while last year she ended up 18th or better five times in all 36 races.
Patrick is hoping all of that can continue in Saturday night’s Kentucky 400 and that she can continue to excel.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Overall thoughts on Kentucky?
“It’s one of those tracks where I have experience but, obviously, not in a lot of it in a stock car. I’ve been there a lot, but I’ve only run three stock car races there. I ran a lot of IndyCar races at Kentucky but, obviously, those aren’t really going to benefit me this weekend. The track definitely has character to it with the bumps, and we practice during the day on Friday and then race at night on Saturday, so the track conditions can change during the race. When you add all that up, it’s a challenging place.”
How challenging are the bumps we hear about?
“They are challenging for the teams. It’s a hard place to set up for and the bumps do add to that. Tony Gibson and the crew do a good job of setting up the car and I think they’ll be able to do that this week. It’s a tough place and the pavement is old but it creates some good racing. Hopefully, we can have a good night.”
You are bringing back the chassis from Kansas. Talk about that.
“It was pretty good at Kansas so, hopefully, it will be good at Kentucky. It is hard to predict as the tracks look the same but are actually quite a bit different. Kansas has been repaved and had good grip and Kentucky is old and worn out. Hopefully, we can find a good balance on the car and get it right. But I’m happy to have it.”
It’s a bit of a short week coming from Sonoma to Kentucky.
“It is, but it’s harder for the crew guys. There is a lot that goes into getting back and then getting to Kentucky on Thursday. This is a tough time of year and we need to thank them for all they do, especially the hauler drivers. Those guys are earning their money this week.”
DANICA PATRICK’S KENTUCKY PERFORMANCE PROFILE
|2013||6/30||Kentucky 400 (NSCS)||29||23||Running, 267/267||0||$82,060|
|2012||9/22||Kentucky 300 (NNS)||11||14||Running, 198/200||0||$19,868|
|2012||6/29||Feed the Children 300 (NNS)||11||12||Running, 198/200||0||$20,943|
|2011||10/2||Kentucky Indy 300 (ICS)||14||10||Running, 200/200||0||N/A|
|2010||9/4||Kentucky Indy 300 (ICS)||17||9||Running, 200/200||0||N/A|
|2009||8/1||Meijer Indy 300 (ICS)||5||8||Running, 200/200||2||N/A|
|2008||8/9||Meijer Indy 300 (ICS)||26||11||Running, 199/200||1||$60,000|
|2007||8/11||Meijer Indy 300 (ICS)||11||16||Running, 180/200||0||$38,500|
|2006||8/13||Meijer Indy 300 (ICS)||11||8||Running, 200/200||0||$47,400|
|2005||8/14||AMBER Alert Portal 300 (ICS)||1||16||Running, 184/200||0||$34,100|
- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing