KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – After back-to-back weekends during which the team’s results have failed to match the potential seen during the race, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are ready to leave Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California with a smile after Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
At Las Vegas two weekends ago, Patrick ran inside the top-20 before handling issues and long, green-flag runs left her three laps down with a 27th-place finish. Last weekend in Phoenix, a pit road penalty and contact from a competitor dashed Patrick’s shot at a top-20 result and she ended up 26th.
This weekend, Patrick returns to Fontana for her third career Sprint Cup start at the 2-mile speedway. In 2014, she scored her career-best finish at the track by earning a 14th-place result and, as they enter the race weekend ahead, her team is looking to improve upon last year’s effort.
For this weekend’s Auto Club 400, Patrick’s car will sport the blue-and-white colors of Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the U.S., with nearly 500 locations in communities across 30 states, providing millions of Americans with access to quality, affordable dental care.
Every Aspen Dental-branded practice provides much-needed access to affordable, quality care, including dental services that range from dentures and preventive care to general dentistry and restoration.
Patrick is driving the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS at both Fontana this weekend and at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois in September. As Patrick enters her second year of partnership with Aspen Dental, she continues to help shine a spotlight on an often overlooked healthcare issue – oral health. In 2014, Patrick teamed up with Aspen Dental to support the Healthy Mouth Movement, a community-giving initiative that resulted in nearly 2,000 Aspen Dental team members volunteering their time to deliver more than $1 million in free dental care to nearly 3,000 patients in need.
The Healthy Mouth Movement kicks off its second year in just a few short weeks when the Aspen Dental MouthMobile – a fully equipped dental office on wheels – makes its first stop of 2015 in Phoenix.
While Aspen Dental is working to bring smiles to millions of patients across the country, Patrick’s focus this weekend will be on garnering on-track results. And if all goes well, Patrick and her team will be all smiles as they leave Fontana.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your overall thoughts on Fontana?
“Fontana’s pavement has not aged gracefully (laughs), so it makes for a challenging race. It’s a challenge to set up the car – the seams move the car around a lot. It’s very fast, yet you still have to get the car to rotate and it seems really tight off of (turn) two. It’s one of the tougher places to get the balance right. But if you do strike a good balance in practice, you have a chance to have a really good day on Sunday.”
Your teammate Kevin Harvick has won back-to-back races the past two weekends at Las Vegas and Phoenix. Talk about what that means for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“It’s cool to watch someone on your team do so well because it gives you the confidence that generally you have similar resources, but also great information as to what works and what doesn’t work. They’ve been really good and I feel like that confidence then kicks it up another notch for all of SHR, and confidence goes a long way.”
There are new colors on the car for you this week with the blue and white of Aspen Dental. Talk about that.
“We do have different look this week. I’m excited about it. We’re lucky to have Aspen Dental on the car this weekend and then in September at Chicagoland. What they’re doing is amazing. I didn’t realize until I starting working with them that lack of dental care is a serious issue. Last year, more than 100 million Americans didn’t visit a dentist, and millions more live in communities with little or no access to dental care. It’s an issue that affects a lot of hard-working people, including NASCAR fans, who are often living in pain. Aspen Dental decided to do something about it, and that’s why I’m proud to work with them.”
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