KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina – Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn is one of Danica Patrick’s top tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit and that gives the driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) good reason to smile as the series returns to the 2-mile oval for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
Patrick scored her career-best Michigan result of 13th in June 2013. In total, she has earned four top-20 finishes in seven starts at the 2-mile oval. Her 13th-place run was the third top-15 finish in her career and came when her team elected to take only right-side tires on the final pit stop. She drove hard for the final stint and wound up with a solid finish.
In the June 2014 race, she went down a lap early but got it back on lap 147 and drove to a solid top-20 finish. The following June, Patrick started the Michigan 400 19th, led two laps and scored a 16th-place finish in the rain-shortened event.
When the series visited the track earlier this year, Patrick finished just shy of the top-20 – in 21st – after starting 25th.
Prior to her solid runs at Michigan in the Sprint Cup Series, Patrick performed well in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and IndyCar Series.
In August 2012, she started an impressive fifth and led one lap en route to an 18th-place Xfinity Series finish. And, in August 2007, she started ninth, led five laps and finished seventh in the IndyCar Series.
As the Sprint Cup Series visits Michigan this weekend, Aspen Dental returns as the primary sponsor of Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet SS. Sunday’s race marks the third of four events where Aspen Dental will serve as the primary sponsor on Patrick’s racecar this season. In addition, Aspen Dental is an associate sponsor on the No. 10 Chevrolet for all non-primary races.
While Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet SS will be blue and silver this weekend in Michigan, her car will also feature the names of more than 500 U.S. veterans. Aspen Dental dentists and teams from Maine to Washington – and hundreds of dental practices in between – volunteered their time and talents to give back to veterans in their communities during one, big “Day of Service” on Saturday, June 25. As part of the Healthy Mouth Movement, a community-giving initiative which provides dental care for veterans, it marked the third annual “Day of Service,” during which nearly 400 participating Aspen Dental offices donated more than $2.1 million dollars in dentistry in a single day, empowering more than 4,000 veterans with a healthy smile. Aspen Dental will also host five veterans and their guests as VIPs for Sunday’s race at the 2-mile Michigan track.
In addition to the festivities in Michigan, Aspen Dental Management, Inc., recently announced it will be giving 1,000 veterans and guests the opportunity to be honored with a special VIP experience at the upcoming Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 Oct. 8 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in a celebration of service and support of access to dental care. Beginning Aug. 29, veterans can visit www.Smile4YourService.com and sign up to attend the race and enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience as Aspen Dental will honor their selfless service to our country and bring attention to the fact that many unfortunately do not receive the dental care they desperately need and deserve. The experience will include premium grandstand seats plus pit road and VIP access at the prerace concert by triple-platinum rock band 3 Doors Down. This recognition program is a continuation of Aspen Dental’s support of veterans and a part of the company’s quest to help improve and raise awareness about the oral health needs of veterans.
While Aspen Dental is working to bring smiles to veterans across the country, Patrick’s focus this weekend will be on garnering on-track results. And if all goes well, Patrick and her team will be all smiles as they leave Michigan.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts on racing at Michigan?
“Michigan is a wide, fast track. There’s lots of room to move around and try different lines. I think it’s a momentum track and you have to focus on being smooth. At the end of the day, the car has to handle well. It has to feel good. It has to be a fast car. I think those are the challenges – getting your car to handle well and being smooth and consistent, lap after lap, at such a fast track.”
What kind of challenges does Michigan present?
“It’s really easy to have an imbalance at Michigan, whether it be getting the power down on exit or most of the time being tight. I feel like it produces some great racing and there’s a lot of drafting, so you can use that to help pass cars.”
Your car features the names of veterans who received free dental care during Aspen Dental’s “Day of Service” in June, and the company recently announced a new “Smile 4 Your Service” promotion. Talk about that.
“I’ve gotten to see first-hand all that Aspen Dental does to support our nation’s veterans. It’s an honor to have the names of so many veterans on my car this weekend and it’ll be great to have such a large contingent of those men and women who’ve served our country at Charlotte this fall, cheering on the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet team. Our country’s veterans have given up so much for our freedom and I am proud to have a partner like Aspen Dental that does so much to honor their service and support their access to quality dental care.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine