|Danica Patrick is 300/1 to win at Sonoma this weekend.|
Patrick finished outside of the top-20 in the three races leading up to the off weekend. She ended up 21st at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. An accident relegated her to a 32nd-place finish when the series visited Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month. And, two weeks ago, Patrick finished 21st at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Rested and refreshed after a weekend off, Patrick and the team head to Sonoma, one of two road courses on the Sprint Cup schedule. She has 10 races under her belt at the track dating back to 2005. However, seven of those starts came in the IndyCar Series and unfortunately won’t offer much assistance to Patrick as she competes in Sunday’s Save Mart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
The IndyCar Series utilized two different Sonoma road-course layouts during the seven years Patrick competed there and neither is identical to the 1.99-mile, 10-turn configuration she will drive on Sunday.
Patrick’s top Sprint Cup result at the track is an 18th-place finish she scored in 2014. Last year, her hopes of earning another top-20 effort at the track were dashed when late-race contact forced Patrick off course and left her with a 24th-place finish.
At Sonoma this weekend, Patrick is hoping to run a smooth and clean race, remain on course and get back to running in the top-20 with the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is the key to racing at Sonoma?
“I think, at Sonoma, you have to get through the high-speed esses comfortably, which leads to a good high-speed balance. Power down is also important there because it is easy for the rear tires to just spin all the time. The fast lap times come from the high-speed balance, so that is the key for me and the Nature’s Bakery team.”
What is the hardest part about road racing?
“The hardest part of road racing is just putting a whole lap together. The hardest part of road racing is just nailing every corner and doing it consistently when it counts.”
What about the road courses do you enjoy?
“I’m very used to racing on road courses. That’s how I grew up in go-karting. It’s what I did in Europe when I raced and it’s what IndyCar Racing really became before I left. There were three IndyCar road-course races when I started and, by the end, the majority of the races were on road courses – I think it was eight or nine races. So I’m super familiar and super comfortable on road courses, but jumping into a stock car on a road course does feel a lot different than a lot of the other cars I’ve driven before on a road course. It still makes for great races because the braking zones are longer in stock cars, which allows more opportunities for passing.”
How would you assess your team’s progression so far this season?
“I feel like in racing sometimes you make progress by trying things that don’t work and sometimes you make progress, of course, by doing things that do work. I feel like this year as a team we’ve tried things and some stuff has worked and some stuff for sure hasn’t, but it’s not from a lack of trying, that’s for sure. It’s about finding the things that move the needle and it’s not an easy task and that’s why you see incredibly talented and smart teams with great funding and all of the resources possible have a bit of an ebb and flow to their performance over the years. It’s not an easy job. I feel like we’re in a position right now where we need to dig deep and we need to find a few things that help move our program forward.”
- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing