KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2013) – For the 12 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, it’s “Go Time” as the 10-race Chase kicks off with Sunday’s Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The 12 drivers best be “Go Getters” from the drop of the green flag if they’d like to be crowned champion 10 weeks from now at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
For the 31 Sprint Cup drivers not in the Chase, it’s also “Go Time,” as each wants to finish out the year as strong as possible to gain momentum and experience heading into 2014.
For Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the final 10 races are about finishing up her rookie year in strong fashion and continuing to gain valuable experience each time she hits the track.
Patrick has competed in a Sprint Cup race at every track that comprises the 10-race Chase, save for Homestead.
Patrick is hoping to improve on her results at tracks she will visit a second and third time. Of the tracks where she has competed twice – Dover, Kansas, Charlotte, Texas and Phoenix, she improved her finishing result in race two at the first three. Patrick also bettered her qualifying effort at Kansas and Charlotte.
She and the GoDaddy team are banking on that trend and hope to continue starting and finishing higher than in the previous race. Should that be accomplished, it will provide the team plenty of energy heading into 2014.
This week’s race at Chicagoland is important on the track for Patrick, but also off the track as Chicagoland Speedway is about 116 miles south and east of her hometown of Roscoe, Ill. It’s a home race for Patrick, who will have plenty of friends and family in attendance at the 1.5-mile oval.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Overall thoughts on Chicago?
“I’ve always loved going to Chicago. I love the city – it’s just a great place. There’s so much to do and the restaurants, the shopping – it’s just a world-class city. I think the race will be good. It’s a busy week for us testing out in Phoenix for Goodyear on Tuesday and Wednesday and then heading to Chicagoland. I’ve always liked the track and we’ve been getting better at the intermediate tracks in recent weeks, especially in qualifying. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
You grew up in Roscoe, Ill., about 116 miles northwest of Chicagoland Speedway. Will you have a lot of family and friends at the race this weekend?
“There are going to be a few people out there. I normally don’t have a lot because I don’t exactly volunteer tickets because it’s a lot of work and there’s a lot going on during the weekend. For people who come out to the track, you want them to have a good time and, if you don’t feel like you can help them have a good time, then there’s not much point. But it will be nice to have family and friends out. It’s a little different because I rarely have people at the races with me. It’s nice to see everyone and have their support and hopefully we put on a good show for them.”
You participated in the first day of a Goodyear tire test Tuesday at Phoenix. How did that go?
“It was good. Anytime you can get on track, it’s good thing, whether it’s a team test or a Goodyear test. You just try to give good, consistent feedback and help them pick a good compound for the race. I’m not sure they get the proper credit for how hard they work and the effort they put in each week. They really get after it and we as drivers and teams appreciate that.”
GoDaddy launched a new advertising and marketing campaign last week and has changed its mission a bit. Talk about that.
“It’s a simple concept, really – they want to help small businesses succeed and leverage the power of the Internet. And the campaign really is common with what we do in racing. To be successful in racing, you have to be a “Go Getter” and know when it’s “Go Time.” It’s the same for small businesses. In order to be successful in any business, but especially a small business, you have to be a “Go Getter.” GoDaddy offers some amazing products and services to make sure small businesses succeed. The new commercial is really cool with Jean-Claude Van Damme appearing in it. I’m excited about the direction of GoDaddy. Blake (Irving, GoDaddy CEO) has done a lot of great things since he came on board and I think great things are ahead.”