|Danica Patrick is 400/1 to win Sunday at Phoenix. Yes, 400/1.|
The race in Phoenix marks race number two of this year’s three-race jaunt out West for Sprint Cup teams. The No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team scored a 21st-place finish on the first leg of the trip last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After Phoenix, the “NASCAR Goes West” portion of the season will conclude March 20 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Entering Sunday’s race, Patrick brings experience from competing in three different series at Phoenix: Sprint Cup, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IndyCar Series. In her lone IndyCar start at the mile oval in 2005, Patrick finished 15th. She has competed in five Xfinity Series races at Phoenix and earned a 10th-place result in November 2012. Patrick has made seven Sprint Cup starts at the track and scored her best finish there – a 16th-place effort – after overcoming a pit-road penalty in last November’s rain-shortened event.
The return to Phoenix also marks the fourth race for Patrick and her new crew chief Billy Scott. After getting off to a rough start with an accident in the season-opener in Daytona, the team has scored finishes of 20th at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 21st at Las Vegas, and Patrick has moved up eight spots – from 34th to 26th – in the driver standings.
Heading into this weekend at Phoenix, the Nature’s Bakery team is looking to continue to improve upon its results thus far with great hopes that a return to the “Valley of the Sun” will bring a solid finish.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Talk about returning to Phoenix for this weekend’s race.
“The Phoenix area just has amazing amenities, like great grocery stores, great restaurants and great shopping. When it comes to the track itself, the fans are such a big part of everything. They get in early to camp out and it’s like they have their own little city. They even have a grocery store at the track. There’s always a really big crowd at Phoenix and it’s great to see how much this area supports our sport.”
Do you have a lot of friends coming out for this race?
“I do, actually. I always have a lot of friends who come out for the races in Phoenix. It’s a nice track for everyone to come out to and, hopefully, everyone has a good time.”
How are things progressing with your new crew chief Billy Scott?
“Billy and I are still working with how the car works, how we load each corner of the car and learning what I like in it. We’re not way off. We just have to find something to get us to the next group. We are making progress. Some of it is behind the scenes, more with learning, than it is with results at this point. We’ve had three races and have made steady improvement through the race with the car, and that’s important because it means my communication and his understanding is good.”
What are your overall thoughts on racing at Phoenix this weekend?
“We had a solid race there last November and hopefully we can build on that performance when we return to the track this weekend. I like Phoenix and think it’s a great track, so I hope we can have another smooth run and do well.”
Nature’s Bakery Racing Team Report
Round 4 of 36 – Good Sam 500k – Phoenix
Car No.: 10 – Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS
Teammates: Kevin Harvick – No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS
Ty Dillon– No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet SS
Kurt Busch – No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS
Good Sam 500k Notes of Interest:
The Good Sam 500k will mark Danica Patrick’s 122nd career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and her eighth at Phoenix International Raceway. Patrick’s top Sprint Cup finish at the track is a 16th-place effort she earned last fall. In addition, Patrick has competed in five NASCAR Xfinity Series events at Phoenix, earning a top finish of 10th in November 2012. She also made one IndyCar Series start at the mile oval, which resulted in a 15th-place finish in 2005.
Nature’s Bakery Fantern at Phoenix: Brad Heath, a NASCAR fan who resides in Florence, Arizona, will join the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team Sunday at Phoenix as the Nature’s Bakery Fantern. The Fantern program was launched in January to energize fans with an opportunity to participate in a unique at-track journey with Patrick and the No. 10 team. Heath’s race-day experience will include spending time with the Nature’s Bakery pit crew, a tour of the Sprint Cup garage and pit area, meeting Patrick and watching the race from pit road. The fan internship program will be offered during 26 race weekends this season. U.S. residents can visit www.NaturesBakery.com/Fantern to apply to be a part of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team. Fans have two options to submit their applications for the role: submit a one-minute video, or several photos accompanied by a 500-word essay detailing why the fan should be selected as the next Nature’s Bakery Fantern. Each Nature’s Bakery Fantern will get to bring a guest to the track to share in the special at-track journey with the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team. Fanterns will share social media content from their at-track adventure utilizing the #Fantern hashtag.
Patrick to Visit Nature’s Bakery Display: Patrick will visit the Nature’s Bakery display in the Phoenix International Raceway fan midway area for a Q&A session at 2:50 p.m. Friday. Fans can submit their questions for Patrick via Twitter using the hashtag #NaturesBakeryAsksDP.
Choose Your Journey: Nature’s Bakery is offering fans the chance to win a unique experience with Patrick through its new “Choose Your Journey” sweepstakes. As part of the sweepstakes, two winners will be selected and they will choose two outdoor activities to experience alongside Patrick in Charlotte, North Carolina, during the May 19-22 NASCAR race weekend. Options include: rock climbing, hiking, a zip-line experience or a ropes-course adventure. The winners will also receive a tour of Stewart-Haas Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, VIP access to the race weekend, and a year’s supply of Nature’s Bakery on-the-go snacks and foods that complement health-conscious living and everyday active lifestyles, including its popular whole wheat and gluten-free fig bars. U.S. residents 18 years and older can enter the “Choose Your Journey” contest by visiting the Nature’s Bakery Facebook page (Facebook.com/NaturesBakery), or by going to naturesbakery.com/chooseyourjourney through April 17 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Fans can enter once per e-mail address, per day. For contest rules, visit: https://naturesbakery.com/terms-and-conditions.
For the History Books: Since Patrick began competing in NASCAR on a part-time basis in 2010, she has made plenty of history. Here is a recap of how she has altered the record books through the years:
* Became the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500.
* Led laps 90 to 91 of the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race. She also led laps 127 to 129.
* Became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green (Daytona 2013). Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.
* Finished 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
* Finished 10th in 2012 Xfinity Series points, the highest points finish by a woman in the history of NASCAR’s top three series (Sprint Cup, Xfinity, Truck).
* Competed in every Sprint Cup race in 2013, becoming the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.
* Became the first female to compete in the nonpoints Sprint All-Star race (2013) and Sprint Unlimited (2014).
* Have the most starts of any female in Sprint Cup Series competition.
* With six top-10 finishes, holds the record for the most top-10 finishes of any female in Sprint Cup Series competition.
* History Maker in IndyCar: Patrick became the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series in April 2008 by winning the IndyCar Series Japan Indy 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan.
* Big Stage: In seven Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick finished in the top-10 six times, including a third-place result in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman in the historic race.
- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing