Back at Daytona in February, Danica Patrick shocked the world by sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500 and finishing in the top 10. So what’s to say she can’t do the same thing this weekend? After all, she has the same car.
Patrick recognizes there is probably a spike in expectations, but says that you have to take into consideration that luck is a big part of plate racing.
“Everything has got to be clean,” she said. “The stops have to be good. You have to stay in the pack no issues, not getting caught up in an accident. From what I remember last year even at Talladega it was more of a pack race than Daytona even. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Obviously, this is a wider track than Daytona so when we start getting four-wide that is when stuff starts to get a little exciting. We will just have to hope that we are in the right place at the right time.”
In the late laps, she was shuffled out of the line a bit at Daytona so she says that she’s learned that if you don’t have a plan, you turn into a sitting duck.
“I mean I talked to Tony (Stewart) after the race and I talked to Jimmie (Johnson) after the race too,” she commented. “I think Tony pointed it out most specifically is just that there was probably more to lose in third than there was to gain. By pulling out and trying something I could have just as easily ended up 15th or so back, again right place at the right time with the right opportunity ahead of you.
“I have a better idea of what it is going to take, but it’s also circumstantial. Jimmie told me after the race he said ‘look I didn’t have a plan. The two times I’ve won now I didn’t have any plan going into the last lap.’ That is where the luck comes in and right place at the right time.”
A lot of people have questioned why she seems to be good at plate racing over the intermediate tracks and short tracks. Patrick says it’s simply due to comfort level as she’s used to it from how the IndyCars run 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,” she added. “I guess I show up here and it’s just a little bit more comfortable.”
To continue to get even more comfortable, she will run Saturday’s Nationwide Series race with Turner-Scott Motorsports. She says she wants to win it, but it’s about getting practice before Sunday.
“There is going to be more bump drafting in the Nationwide race, but I think that everything is happening really fast in the Nationwide race because you have such shifts in speed with bump drafting and drafting,” she added. “I feel like it kind of just sharpens your instincts up and sharpens you up out on the track and gets you ready for and more prepared for the next day.”
Photo Credit: Roger Holtsclaw, SpeedwayMedia.com