KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Entering Saturday night’s Richmond 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Danica Patrick and her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) have enjoyed quite a bit of success on short tracks thus far in 2015.
They scored a seventh-place finish at the .526-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway late last month. It was Patrick’s first Sprint Cup top-10 at a short track. Last weekend at the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, she earned her second top-10 of the season – a ninth-place run at the high-banked short track. The effort marked the sixth top-10 finish of Patrick’s Sprint Cup career, setting the record for the most top-10 finishes ever by a female in Sprint Cup competition.
While the results have been great, the finishes haven’t come easy. They have been earned through a lot of hard work by Patrick and the members of her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team.
Early in the race at Martinsville, Patrick was running 30th while battling an ill-handling car and she went a lap down to the leader at lap 150. The team continued to adjust on the racecar throughout the event and, once Patrick was able to get back on the lead lap, she started charging toward the front of the field. She cracked the top-10 with a little more than 100 laps to go and worked her way up to seventh before taking the checkered flag.
At Bristol, Patrick came back from being a lap down twice during the event. Once again, the team didn’t give up and kept making adjustments to Patrick’s No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS. She raced her way into the top-20 at lap 193 and remained there for the rest of the event. In the late stages of the race, she worked her way into the top-15 and was able to crack the top-10 in the closing laps.
As Sprint Cup teams head to the .75-mile Richmond oval this weekend, Patrick and her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team will be looking for another top-10 run to continue their short-track success.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your overall thoughts on Richmond?
“I’ve always enjoyed going to Richmond. I had fun racing Indy cars there. I liked driving the Xfinity car there, as well. We didn’t have the greatest results, but it was still fun.”
What makes the racing so good at Richmond?
“When you have a good car, it creates opportunities to pass. Turns one and two are kind of tight, and three and four are more of a long corner, so it’s a challenge to set the car up. We slip and slide there a bunch, anyway. Thank goodness we don’t race there in the day. There is more grip at night and I’m thankful for that.”
DANIEL KNOST, Crew chief of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is the key to running well at Richmond?
“The biggest issue we face at Richmond is tire management. The tires fall off a lot. The cars tend to get loose in and then you’re tight in the center of the corner and you need to carry good rolling speed. The key to running well at Richmond, in my opinion, is to be able to maintain drive off when others can’t so you can complete passes as you roll through the center of the corner.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine