Danica Patrick No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
“I remember the car feeling really loose most of the time last year at Homestead. It’s a challenging track, even in IndyCar. I think we wasted a lot of good time during practice, because I was unfamiliar with how to drive the corners. Aric (Almirola, teammate) told me, ‘you’ve got to drive it in the corner, and you’ve got to get it on the right front.’ The corners are very tight compared to a lot of other mile-and-a-halfs. Toward the end of practice we got it better.
“I went into qualifying and surprised myself by qualifying fifth. I feel like I’m getting into the swing of qualifying a little bit more. More than anything, it will be nice to start off the weekend driving the track as it needs to be driven so we can work on the car, as opposed to figuring it out during the last part of practice."
PATRICK SEES IMPROVEMENT THROUGH SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN – Danica Patrick will put an end to an eventful and noteworthy sophomore season this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 11 starts this year, Patrick earned one top-five and three top-10 finishes. Her fourth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway rewrote the history books, making Patrick the highest finishing female in any NASCAR national touring series race. The effort bested the 62-year-old record of Sara Christian, who finished fifth at Heidlberg, Pa. on Oct. 2, 1949 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Patrick also has led a career-high 14 laps, 13 of which came in a dramatic finish at Daytona in July when she took the lead with two laps to go. Her victory chances were ruined by a multi-car accident within sight of the checkered flag. Patrick’s average finish this year is 16.1 as compared to 28.0 in her 13-race rookie season in 2010.
Aric Almirola No. 88 GT Vodka Chevrolet
“Homestead is a track that’s a lot of fun to race on. It has progressive banking through the corners. That’s why you see drivers go into the corner and move around a lot. Anytime you go somewhere that you can move around, it’s good. As a racecar driver, you want options on where you can run.
“I’m looking forward to a bit of a break following Homestead. But at the same time, when you’re running well and things are going your way, you can’t wait to get back to the racetrack. So at times, the few weeks we have off seem a lot longer.”
ALMIROLA WRAPS UP FIRST FULL SEASON WITH JRM – Despite owning 72 starts in Nationwide Series competition over the span of five years, the Homestead event concludes Almirola’s first full season with JR Motorsports. His season totals feature one pole (Phoenix 11/12), seven top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, including a string of nine top-10s in a 10-week mid-summer stretch. Almirola has led 101 laps in 2011. He led 66 last week at Phoenix International Raceway. He has earned an average finish of 12.2. He enters the weekend fourth in championship points, trailing third-place Justin Allgaier by 15 points. The No. 88 Chevrolet is ninth in owner points.