KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina – With three races to go in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head in to Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth looking to achieve maximum results.
As Patrick prepares to make her ninth career Sprint Cup start at the 1.5-mile Texas oval this weekend, she enters Sunday’s race having earned solid results at intermediate tracks thus far this season. She’s scored top-20 finishes in five of the nine events at 1.5-mile tracks so far in 2016, including the No. 10 team’s best result of the season – an 11th-place finish at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last month.
While Patrick finished 21st at Texas in April, she scored back-to-back 16th-place finishes in last year’s events at the track. And in four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Texas, Patrick earned three top-20 finishes, including a career-best eighth-place effort in April 2012.
In addition to her stock car experience at Texas, Patrick has competed in eight IndyCar Series races there. In that stretch, she scored two top-five finishes and five top-10s. Patrick’s best IndyCar Series result at Texas is a runner-up finish she earned in June 2005.
When Patrick returns to Texas this weekend, the red, white and black colors of TaxAct, the official tax preparation software partner of SHR and Patrick, return to the No. 10 Chevrolet for the AAA Texas 500. Sunday’s race marks the third of four events where TaxAct will serve as the primary sponsor on Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet this year. In addition, TaxAct is an associate sponsor on the No. 10 Chevrolet for all non-primary races.
With the 2016 season winding down, Patrick and the No. 10 TaxAct Chevrolet team will be looking to capitalize on their recent success at 1.5-mile tracks as they look for maximum returns Sunday at Texas.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Talk about racing at Texas Motor Speedway.
“I’ve always liked racing at Texas. I first competed there in the IndyCar Series in 2005 and they always put on a great show for the fans. Texas is a nice, weathered-in track that’s rough and bumpy. It’s still very fast, but the tires fall off and the surface has really taken on a lot of character over the years.”
You have a lot of experience at Texas and you seem to really enjoy racing there. Why is that?
“I think, more than anything with Texas, it’s the fact it’s a really high-banked, fast track and those are the kind of tracks I’ve liked the most. I feel that load in the corner and you’re able to carry so much speed through there because of that banking. I feel like it translates more to a feeling I was familiar with from Indy cars. So I like going to Texas.”
We’re closing in on the end of the season. How has this first year gone with your crew chief Billy Scott?
“We’re going through these last few races of the year and using them as a big learning experience for us to know which direction we want to go in for next year. Things have been going better lately and I think the big contributing factor is just time and working with each other long enough that we’re honing in on what we need and are getting more comfortable with each other.”
The Cubs are playing in the World Series for the first time since 1945. How did you become a Cubs fan?
“I grew up in Illinois and have a place in Chicago. Anyone who knows a Chicagoan knows we have a lot of pride and excitement for our home teams.”
What would it mean to you to see the Cubs win the World Series?
“I have to say it would be pretty incredible to see the Cubs win the World Series.”
What is your favorite memory of the Cubs?
“I’ve thrown out the first pitch twice over the years. I stood on top of the mound both times, not in front of it, and I basically had the same exact pitch each time. It, like, one-hopped right in front of home plate and into the catcher’s mitt. They weren’t perfect, but I was on top of the mound and they were straight and there was no running for the ball. So, I consider that a mild success. I think that my seventh-inning stretch song probably made, like, a ‘Not Top-10’ list on SportsCenter for a ‘keep your day job’ kind of thing, which I don’t care because I am not a singer. But I am an athlete, so I think the pitch has to go well, so I could have cared less that they didn’t think I sang well.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine