Patrick's record-setting lap of 194.595 mph breaks her personal best on intermediate tracks
CONCORD, N.C. -- Danica Patrick earned another first on Thursday as she posted the fastest qualifying lap (194.595 mph) for a female driver at Charlotte Motor Speedway or any 1.5-mile track.
She broke her previous best effort on a 1.5-mile intermediate track, set at Texas Motor Speedway, and will roll off fourth for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.
“The car was really good,” said Patrick, who also posted the fastest lap in the second round of qualifying. “I think the big difference that came for me was in the second round. (Tony) Gibson (crew chief) made really good adjustments and anticipated the offset from run one to run two really well and the balance was really good. I did that 20 whatever seven (27.750-seconds) which was quickest in the second group.
“We have a lot to be proud of. I mean let’s face it this is the part of the weekend that I dreaded every time. I had to train myself to not say I hate qualifying. We were (sixth) in a round, we were first in a round and we were fourth in a round. A lot to be proud of at Stewart-Haas and for the GoDaddy car and it’s going to give us a great starting spot for Sunday.”
Jimmie Johnson won the pole with a lap at 194.911 mph. Patrick was fourth fastest in round three of knockout qualifying which sets the order of the top 12.
Patrick exhibited tremendous speed two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway, another 1.5-mile track on the Sprint Cup tour, where she qualified ninth and finished seventh. While she wasn’t able to advance from the Sprint Showdown to the All-Star Race, the seat time served her well.
Although some drivers really struggled in the first round of time trials, Patrick didn’t have any complaints in her No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy.
“I think one of the things that happens when your team gives you a really good race car is you don’t notice the track being off as much,” Patrick said. “It never feels super low grip. Even in the heat of the day today I told the guys ‘I really honestly don’t feel like the grip level is all that much different than when we were here last weekend for the All-Star weekend and it was far cooler.’
“That is a product of good race cars and they have a lot to be proud of at the shop.”