KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina – While four drivers will be vying for the championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Championship 4 round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs, 36 other teams will be competing to end the 2016 season on the highest note possible. Danica Patrick and the No. 10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will be one of the teams in the latter category and will be ready to take home maximum returns in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale.
Patrick will make her fourth career Sprint Cup start at the 1.5-mile Homestead oval Sunday and she enters the race having earned solid results at intermediate tracks thus far this season. She’s scored top-20 finishes in five of the 10 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 last month at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
She finished a career-best 18th at Homestead in November 2014 and has earned top-20 results in two of the three Sprint Cup races she’s competed in at the track. In addition, in three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Homestead, Patrick earned a career-best effort of 13th in November 2012 among a pair top-20 finishes.
In addition to Patrick’s stock car experience, she has competed in five IndyCar Series races at Homestead. She scored a second-place result in 2010 and earned two top-10s.
Patrick and the No. 10 team will close out the 2016 season in the red, white and black colors of TaxAct, the official tax preparation software partner of SHR and Patrick. Sunday’s race marks the fourth event in which TaxAct will have served as the primary sponsor on Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet this year.
As the 2016 season draws to a close for Patrick and the No. 10 TaxAct Chevrolet team, they will be looking to capitalize on their performance at 1.5-mile tracks this year in addition to Patrick’s past results at Homestead. Scoring maximum returns in Sunday’s race would help end the season on a high note and provide a solid base for the team to build on next year.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your overall thoughts heading into Homestead this weekend?
“It’s a mile and a half, but it’s unique in that it doesn’t have the dogleg. I’ve only run a few Sprint Cup races there but ended up with a couple of solid finishes, and I’ve run well there in the Xfinity Series, also. I ended up second in my last IndyCar race at Homestead, so I’ve got some experience at the track, just not a ton in Sprint Cup.”
Your teammate and co-owner Tony Stewart is making his last Sprint Cup start in Sunday’s race. Talk about Tony’s impact.
“Tony experienced great success in IndyCar and has had huge success in NASCAR, as well. He’s one of the very few drivers who’ve run both and have been really, really successful at it. I think he has helped the reach of both series and motorsports, in general, by a ton. He’s a cool, unique person. He has an opinion, which I love, and I think that resonates with people. People appreciate that sense of authenticity versus not, and he brings it.”
What do you think Tony’s legacy is going to be in NASCAR?
“That he was a great racecar driver who was really fun to watch and to listen to.”
During the homestretch of this year’s season, what has been the team’s approach to each weekend?
“I feel like the 10 races of the Chase for us on the No. 10 team have been an effort to try and figure out where we want to start next year from certain technical specifications – car-wise, what-not – and setups. We’re trying to get a direction so that next year, when we start out, we start out bigger, better, stronger and faster. It’s always a challenge when you work together with a crew chief for the first time. Sometimes it works right away and sometimes it takes time. I think we’re coming around. There’s no way you can really put a timeline on how long it takes for you to finally really click and get things going, but we’re getting there.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine