KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Sept. 26, 2013) – Danica Patrick has raced on concrete surfaces many times during her career, having done so in IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.
Dover’s 24-degree banking in the turns and 9 degrees on the straightaways, and being surrounded by 42 other Sprint Cup machines each producing nearly 900 horsepower, equate to one challenging race for any driver.
Fortunately for Patrick, who drives the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), concrete has been good to her, at times.
In four IndyCar Series starts from 2005 to 2008 at the 1.33-mile concrete oval at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn., Patrick never started or finished outside the top-10, and she scored three top-five results and two starts on the outside of the front row.
She led her first-ever laps in a stock car on the concrete surface at Dover in September 2010, holding the top spot for three circuits en route to a sixth-place finish in the Sunoco 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.
And last season, in her first Sprint Cup Series race at the .533-mile concrete oval at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Patrick was in the top-20 and on the lead lap with 66 laps remaining in the Irwin Tools Night Race Sprint Cup Series event before her car was hit by another car and she contacted the SAFER Barrier on the inside retaining wall of the frontstretch. She finished 29th.
That said, Patrick knows the Sprint Cup races at Dover are unlike any other, and she’ll need mental and physical toughness to finish strong on the concrete.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts about Dover?
“I always like going to Dover. The track is pretty fun. I remember everyone telling me how unique and challenging Dover was prior to my first race. At the time, I didn’t have a whole lot to compare that track to. They said it was like a larger version of Bristol, but I hadn’t raced at Bristol yet, either. It’s nice to have more of a handle on what to expect heading in there now. Dover is fun. It’s fast and it can make for a really long day of racing. I think that’s part of the appeal of it – how demanding it can be. We definitely want to stay out of trouble, which is easier said than done at these types of tracks.”
This is your third Sprint Cup Series start at Dover. Do you review previous races before going to an event?
“I look through notes at what the feel was from the time before. If I’ve got some in-car (video), I’ll look at that, too. That’s really all there is to do. Every weekend is its own weekend and sometimes I feel like it’s nice almost to come in a little bit fresh, too, and not have any preconceived ideas. I like to make notes from the races because there are so many that are similar, you almost can’t remember what you’re supposed to do. There are tiny, little things about a track that are helpful to remember – just where the grip is and bumps and certain things. There’s general feel, like do you drive flat into the corner or do you lift early – just little things that help you get your rhythm quicker. That’s about all I do.”