KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – It’s time for the fourth and final restrictor-plate race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. And for Danica Patrick, she and the GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness team will be bringing a familiar “date.”
Crew chief Tony Gibson has lined up Chassis No. 10-758 for Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. And it has been part of plenty of history with Gibson and Patrick.
It was the chassis Patrick used in 2013 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the 55th Daytona 500, where she was the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole position. She led five laps and finished an impressive eighth in the race.
Patrick then took the car to Talladega in May but was caught up in an accident and finished 28th. It was rebuilt for fall Talladega race and Patrick ran well but faded at the end to finish 33rd.
It was used again in May 2014 at Talladega, where she started seventh and led six laps but wound up 22nd. From there, she and Gibson took it in July to Daytona, where she finished and impressive eighth when the race was called due to rain on lap 112.
Now it is time for the final restrictor-plate race of the season and it’s the kind of racing Patrick likes.
It’s wide-open racing where drivers must set themselves up to be in the right position in the final laps.
With just five races left this season, Patrick and Gibson would love to continue their successful ways. The GoDaddy team has finished in the top-20 in six of the last nine races.
They would love to make it seven of 10 come Sunday.
And with a pink car for Breast Cancer Awareness, and one that has been very good to them, anything is possible.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You’ve run well at the superspeedways. Even if you have been caught up in incidents, you have been consistently in the top-10 throughout each race. Is your confidence level higher at these types of racetracks?
“I don’t know if the confidence level shifts a tremendous amount as much as the comfort level does. Just being comfortable on these big speedways and comfortable with this pack-style racing that I was so used to in IndyCar on the ovals. Just having a feel for it. It is something that I probably caught on to quicker than anything in stock car racing. I guess I show up there and it’s just a little bit more comfortable.”
You finished eighth at Daytona last year and you had solid runs at Talladega last year although the finishes may not necessarily reflect the overall performance. Do you feel you can win Talladega this weekend?
“I feel like I’ve learned some lessons about the draft and how that unfolds at the end if you are in the right place at the right time. I think that, when we talk superspeedway racing, there’s a lot of luck involved. Like I said, right place at the right time – there are a lot of people who have a good chance of winning Talladega, I think. Hopefully, we are one of them at the end of the race. But, we won’t know that until the end of the race.”
You’ve always liked going to Talladega. Why is that?
“The fans really make that place. The campgrounds – all that stuff makes it one, big party. You see how much fun the fans are having and that makes it fun for us as drivers. It’s just a unique place. The sheer size of the facility is amazing. I liked it from the first time I went there and, hopefully, we can have a good run and a good finish. The cool thing about superspeedways is that anybody can win. It’s a toss-up, what’s going to happen. So, that’s why it’s fun for me because somebody like me has a chance. On top of that, SHR’s superspeedway cars are really good.”
TONY GIBSON, Crew chief of the No. 10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Danica has been comfortable with restrictor-plate racing from the start. What are your overall thoughts going to Talladega?
“I think our best shot of winning a race is going to be a restrictor-plate race. She runs well there and, obviously, now we have more teammates at Stewart-Haas who are really good restrictor-plate racers who could help in a situation and be a good drafting partner. Our odds are up, now, because we have more teammates to draft with. If we get separated, there are three other teammates and we could pick up one or two of those and get back to the front. It helps all of us. I feel if we can get at least two or three of our Stewart-Haas cars in the top-10 coming to the final couple of laps, we’ve got a shot of winning the race because we have teammates. I feel like our odds are pretty good going into Talladega.”
- Jonathan Paluga
Director of Marketing & Sales
Armor All & STP Brands