Back to the ‘Valley of the Sun’
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (March 8, 2016) – The “NASCAR Goes West” journey continues for Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as they travel to the “Valley of the Sun” for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500k at Phoenix International Raceway.
The race in Phoenix marks race number two of this year’s three-race jaunt out West for Sprint Cup teams. The No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team scored a 21st-place finish on the first leg of the trip last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After Phoenix, the “NASCAR Goes West” portion of the season will conclude March 20 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Entering Sunday’s race, Patrick brings experience from competing in three different series at Phoenix: Sprint Cup, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IndyCar Series. In her lone IndyCar start at the mile oval in 2005, Patrick finished 15th. She has competed in five Xfinity Series races at Phoenix and earned a 10th-place result in November 2012. Patrick has made seven Sprint Cup starts at the track and scored her best finish there – a 16th-place effort – after overcoming a pit-road penalty in last November’s rain-shortened event.
The return to Phoenix also marks the fourth race for Patrick and her new crew chief Billy Scott. After getting off to a rough start with an accident in the season-opener in Daytona, the team has scored finishes of 20th at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 21st at Las Vegas, and Patrick has moved up eight spots – from 34th to 26th – in the driver standings.
Heading into this weekend at Phoenix, the Nature’s Bakery team is looking to continue to improve upon its results thus far with great hopes that a return to the “Valley of the Sun” will bring a solid finish.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Talk about returning to Phoenix for this weekend’s race.
“The Phoenix area just has amazing amenities, like great grocery stores, great restaurants and great shopping. When it comes to the track itself, the fans are such a big part of everything. They get in early to camp out and it’s like they have their own little city. They even have a grocery store at the track. There’s always a really big crowd at Phoenix and it’s great to see how much this area supports our sport.”
Do you have a lot of friends coming out for this race?
“I do, actually. I always have a lot of friends who come out for the races in Phoenix. It’s a nice track for everyone to come out to and, hopefully, everyone has a good time.”
How are things progressing with your new crew chief Billy Scott?
“Billy and I are still working with how the car works, how we load each corner of the car and learning what I like in it. We’re not way off. We just have to find something to get us to the next group. We are making progress. Some of it is behind the scenes, more with learning, than it is with results at this point. We’ve had three races and have made steady improvement through the race with the car, and that’s important because it means my communication and his understanding is good.”
What are your overall thoughts on racing at Phoenix this weekend?
“We had a solid race there last November and hopefully we can build on that performance when we return to the track this weekend. I like Phoenix and think it’s a great track, so I hope we can have another smooth run and do well.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine