KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Aug. 7, 2013) – The road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International is one of the few tracks on the NASCAR schedule where Danica Patrick has a lot of experience.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has made seven starts at Watkins Glen dating back to 2005.
Six of those starts came in the IZOD IndyCar Series and unfortunately won’t offer much assistance to Patrick as she competes in Sunday’s 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. As if the incredible difference between a stock car and an Indy car weren’t enough, the IndyCar Series used the longer version of the Watkins Glen road circuit, which includes the famous “boot” portion of the track.
In June 2012 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Patrick was fourth on the final lap when she was bumped into the gravel trap by Jacques Villeneueve, which dropped her to a 12th-place finish.
One week later, Patrick led 20 laps and was on the point at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal when a fan threw a shoe onto the track and she ran over it on lap 38 of 81. Shortly thereafter, whether the shoe caused the problem or not, Patrick was forced to pit for mechanical repairs and finished 27th.
Patrick’s only Sprint Cup Series start on a road course came two months ago when she started 31st and finished 29th at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. She and the GoDaddy team are hoping that a productive test July 30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., will help them to a solid finish at one of the most famous racetracks in the world.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
First things first, what are your thoughts on your teammate and boss, Tony Stewart?
“I’m obviously thinking about him and hope he gets better very soon. It’s hard to hear that news no matter who it is, but when it’s your teammate and friend, it’s obviously tougher. He’s been a huge help throughout my rookie year in Sprint Cup and it’s going to be strange not seeing him drive at Watkins Glen. We’re all just wishing a speedy recovery for him and we know, when he comes back, he’ll be as good as ever.”
What are your thoughts about working with Stewart’s substitute driver Max Papis this weekend?
“Max is a great guy and a great road racer. It’ll be fun to have him as a teammate this weekend. I wish it were under different circumstances, but it will be nice to work with him. We tested together last week at Road Atlanta and he was really good to work with. I’ve known him for a few years and I’m sure he’s excited for this opportunity.”
Talk about the test at Road Atlanta last week.
“The GoDaddy car felt really good when we went and tested. It is about as good as it’s unloaded off the truck at any point this year, anywhere we’ve gone. So, I hope that translates to good things. It’s not a bad thing, anyway.”
Do you feel good, in general, about a road-course race?
“If you had asked me when I was at Sonoma or anywhere around then, I would have said I don’t feel very good. But our test at Road Atlanta was very good and, in general, I feel very comfortable on road courses. So, it will be nice because the road courses are a real opportunity for me to get the GoDaddy car further up where some of these tracks are a little bit more challenging for me. So, it’s definitely not Nationwide when you’re racing Cup on the road courses, but I still feel like there’s an opportunity to have a decent weekend if we can nail the balance of the car and qualify well.”