KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – There really is no place like home. And when you go home, you want to be successful.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has that opportunity in Sunday’s MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.
Patrick grew up in Roscoe, Illinois, which is 116 miles northwest of the racetrack. She will have some friends and family in attendance, but she’ll also have a car that has brought plenty of success.
On Thursday, May 8, at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the No. 10 GoDaddy team unloaded Chassis No. 10-837, a new car that had not been used previously.
On Friday, May 9, Danica Patrick, driver of the GoDaddy Chevrolet, was 26th in the first practice and 23rd in the final practice for Saturday night’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval.
But the right adjustments from crew chief Tony Gibson and some helpful hints from teammate Kevin Harvick helped her earn the ninth spot on the starting grid in impressive fashion during Friday evening’s qualifying session.
On Saturday, May 10, Patrick raised a few eyebrows by running in the top-10 for the majority of the event, running as high as third late in the race and finishing seventh.
She started 10th and finished 21st with the same chassis at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta seven weeks later, but Patrick recently tested with the car on August 25 and 26 at Chicagoland.
The team is hoping what it learned at the test can be carried over to Sunday’s 400-mile race. It’s also hoping the career-best run by Patrick two weeks ago will also provide some momentum. Patrick finished sixth at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway and the team is hopeful the same setup will bring success at the1.5-mile Chicagoland racetrack.
It’s “Sweet Home Chicago” for Patrick, who’s looking for a good run for the GoDaddy team.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Overall thoughts on Chicago?
“I’ve always loved going to Chicago. I love the city – it’s just a great place. There’s so much to do and the restaurants, the shopping – it’s just a world-class city. I think the race will be good. It’s a busy week for us, Goodyear testing in Homestead (Miami-Speedway) on Tuesday and then we have an Aspen Dental appearance on Wednesday in Roscoe (Illinois). I’ve always liked the track and we’ve been getting better at the intermediate tracks in recent weeks. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
You grew up in Roscoe, Illinois, about 116 miles northwest of Chicagoland Speedway. Will you have a lot of family and friends at the race this weekend?
“There are going to be a few people out there. I normally don’t have a lot because I don’t exactly volunteer tickets because it’s a lot of work and there’s a lot going on during the weekend. For people who come out to the track, you want them to have a good time and, if you don’t feel like you can help them have a good time, then there’s not much point. But it will be nice to have family and friends out. It’s a little different because I rarely have people at the races with me. It’s nice to see everyone and have their support and hopefully we put on a good show for them. I’m doing an Aspen Dental appearance on Wednesday, so it will be nice to get out there and see everyone.”
You have run well the last couple of weeks. Talk about that.
“It was nice to run well at Atlanta and it was nice to finish well at Richmond. Those have been two tough tracks for us, so it was good to finish well. The team worked hard and everything fell into place. Hopefully, we can have more of that at Chicago.”
You tested at Chicago a few weeks ago. Talk about that.
“It a good test and I think we learned some things. We’re bringing back the Kansas car, so hopefully it’s good. We learned a lot about setup and hopefully what we used at the test, and then at Atlanta, pays off.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine