KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina – As Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) near the midpoint of the 2016 season, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams return to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway this weekend for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola.
With 16 races under its belt, the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team has earned six top-20 finishes, including a season-best 13th-place result at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in May. Patrick has led a total of eight laps and is currently ranked 24th in the Sprint Cup driver point standings.
When the team kicked off its season at Daytona in February, Patrick started the Daytona 500 from the 16th position but was relegated to a 35th-place finish after late-race contact sent her to the garage.
While Patrick’s visit to Daytona in February didn’t go well, she’s experienced a moderate degree of success at the track in the past, including a history-making performance at the 2.5-mile track in 2013. That year, she became the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the Daytona 500. Patrick led twice for a total of five laps in that event, becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race, as well as the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green-flag conditions. She finished the race eighth, setting the mark for the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
In July 2014, Patrick also earned an eighth-place finish in the Coke Zero 400. In eight Sprint Cup starts at Daytona, those two eighth-place efforts mark her top results at the track. Patrick has also started seven NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona and scored her best finish of 10th in July 2011. She won the pole for the February 2012 event.
As the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet team heads back to Daytona this week, it will be focused on scoring better results than it earned at the track in February, and Patrick will be looking to once again break records at the historic track.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is it about Daytona International Speedway that you like?
“I think that I’ve always had the good fortune of driving for good teams that have good cars. I also think that my IndyCar background is very similar to the style of racing that the superspeedways bring to NASCAR. That was full-speed, flat-out, don’t-lift-if-you-don’t-have-to racing where you have to keep your momentum up and lots of big-pack racing. For me, that was a big comfort zone when I came over to NASCAR, that it was a lot like the IndyCar days of driving on mile-and-a-half speedways. It’s all about having an awareness of what’s around you, making good decisions and trying to stay out of trouble until the end.”
What are three words that describe restrictor-plate races?
“Three words that describe plate racing would be: crazy, fast and risky.”
Describe the intensity of restrictor-plate racing.
“It’s super easy to drive around the track flat-out by yourself. It’s not hard at all. When you put all of the other cars around you, it’s not necessarily about how the car feels on the track, although that can be an issue, for sure, at times. It’s more about what everyone else is doing around you. You’re constantly looking at what’s happening in front of you. You’re also looking at what’s behind you. Probably more important than what’s happening in front of you is what’s happening behind you – who’s coming, who’s following you, who’s helping you move forward. There have been plenty of times that I’ve gone to the bottom and complained, ‘Where’s my help?’ It seems like I’ll slot in on the bottom line and then everyone behind me disappears. You really have to have people behind you, pushing you. The race is constantly evolving and you and your spotter have to be on it. It’s a big race for spotters, so having a really good one that you trust is very important.”
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