KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Sept. 8, 2015) – When it comes to the history of Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, drivers at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) have played a role at one time or another.
SHR co-owner Tony Stewart scored his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at the .75-mile oval in September 1999 and has earned a total of three wins at the track.
Kevin Harvick first found his way to victory lane at Richmond in the September 2006 Sprint Cup race and has since earned two additional wins there.
Kurt Busch scored his first Sprint Cup Series win at Richmond in September 2005. In April he dominated the field en route to his second victory at the track.
While Stewart, Harvick and Busch have made their mark in the Sprint Cup Series, Danica Patrick’s success at Richmond thus far has come in the open-wheel ranks.
The IndyCar Series competed at Richmond from 2001 to 2009 and Patrick competed in five of those events. She finished sixth in 2007 and 2008 and then scored a fifth-place result in 2009.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, will make her sixth trip to Richmond in the Sprint Cup Series for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400. In last fall’s Sprint Cup race at the .75-mile oval, she started 13th and scored her best-ever finish at the track – a 16th-place effort.
While she knows her IndyCar experience at Richmond won’t assist her this weekend, she’s hoping to rekindle the early season success the team experienced at short tracks. In April, the GoDaddy team scored a seventh-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It was Patrick’s first Sprint Cup top-10 at a short track. Later that month at 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.
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 to join their fellow SHR teammates in finding Sprint Cup success there.
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.”
There are multiple drivers going for the Chase at Richmond. Do you think guys will drive crazy, or will it be business as usual?
“I highly doubt it will be business as usual. You want to get the most points possible because those spots are open and people are going to try like hell to win the race. There is always that last great push at the end and it will be interesting to see how it turns out. There might be a few yellows.”
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.”
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