Returning to Atlanta with a Smile
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Feb. 24, 2016) – After getting caught up in a late-race incident at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are ready to return to the site of Patrick’s career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish: Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In Florida last week, Patrick saw her solid run in the 58th running of the Daytona 500 end prematurely after contact from another car sent her spinning through the grass in the closing laps of the race. With the conclusion of Daytona Speedweeks, the “regular” Sprint Cup season commences with Sunday’s Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta.
When Patrick and her No. 10 Chevrolet team visited Atlanta in 2014, she started the Oral-B USA 500 27th. Twice in the early stages of the race, she rallied from a lap down. By the halfway point of the race, Patrick worked her way into the top-15 and would stay there for the rest of the night. Her lap times continued to improve and, by the 300-lap mark, she was solidly in the top-10. Patrick managed to run as high as fourth before taking the checkered flag sixth. The effort beat her previous highest finish – a seventh-place run at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City last May – by one position.
Patrick’s sixth-place finish was the best by a female at Atlanta. The previous record was Janet Guthrie’s 10th-place finish on March 19, 1978. Only a fifth-place result by Sara Christian in a Sprint Cup race on Oct. 2, 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway tops Patrick’s 2014 effort at Atlanta. Christian also finished sixth at Langhorn (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949, and Guthrie finished sixth at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 28, 1977.
As Patrick returns to Atlanta this year, her No. 10 Chevrolet will sport the bright blue and white colors of Aspen Dental. Earlier this week, it was announced that Aspen Dental practices are continuing their commitment to veterans in need by launching the third annual Healthy Mouth Movement in conjunction with Got Your 6 and Healthy Mouth Movement ambassador Patrick.
The Healthy Mouth Movement started this week and continues throughout the year on a 30-city tour with the MouthMobile – a 42-foot dental office on wheels that provides free dental care to veterans across the country – and during a day of service this summer. This community-giving initiative has helped more than 4,000 veterans across the country receive $2.8 million dollars in free dental care in 2015 alone. The MouthMobile makes its first stop Thursday at Centennial Park in Atlanta.
As part of this year’s Healthy Mouth Movement, Aspen Dental added a new element – the “Smile 4 Vets” social media campaign that directly benefits Got Your 6, a campaign that empowers veterans to help strengthen communities nationwide, and the veterans they serve. As a part of the program, people can share their smiles with hashtags #Smile4Vets and #Sweepstakes on Twitter, Instagram or at Smile4Vets.com as a salute to veterans nationwide. For every smile shared, Aspen Dental will donate $1 to Got Your 6. To promote that effort, Patrick’s No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet features the #Smile4Vets hashtag on the television panel.
As Patrick and her No. 10 team work to help Aspen Dental bring attention to the importance of oral health for our nation’s veterans and to combat the barriers to care, they are ready to return to Atlanta with a smile.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You recorded one of your best finishes in the Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta. Talk about heading to Atlanta this weekend with the new rules package.
“I like Atlanta. It’s a place that I’ve done pretty well at. I’ve actually done pretty well at tracks that are a little odd or challenging or different. And the rules will make it different again, but it’s the same for everybody. I haven’t really driven the new package since last year. Kurt (Busch) and Kevin (Harvick) have driven that package at tests for our team, and I feel like each year for the last few years, as a team, we’ve only gotten stronger and more organized and on top of things. I feel like our cars will be good, and I feel like our setups will be close. Hopefully, it will be another fun Atlanta weekend.”
This week, your sponsor Aspen Dental kicked off a “Smile 4 Vets” social media campaign as a part of the company’s Healthy Mouth Movement that you’ve been a part of for the past two years. Talk about that program.
“I’ve been involved with the Healthy Mouth Movement from the very beginning, and to see the impact it makes on the lives of our veterans year after year is incredible. It’s really great to see how regaining a healthy smile can truly transform veterans’ lives. I’m glad to be a part of this initiative for another year and look forward to seeing many more new smiles as I join Aspen Dental in its commitment to giving back to our veterans.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine