Mar 1, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT
Despite a successful Daytona 500, Danica Patrick remains focused on a steady build-up to becoming an everyday contender in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Patrick became the first female to lead “The Great American Race” and was a threat for the win before having to settle for an eighth-place finish. But the Stewart-Haas Racing rookie knows that she still has a lot to learn before she can run in the lead pack on a consistent basis.
“I think that would be unwise to sort of start telling myself that Top 10 is where we need to be every week,” she said last Sunday at Daytona. “I think that’s setting up for failure. The list of drivers in the Cup series is deep. Daytona is a unique track. These tracks are different and unique — a lot about the car. I mean, you have to be smart enough to do the right thing at the right time. But it’s very much about the car.
“I feel like I’m still sticking to ‘Let’s see how these first five races go where we go to a bunch of different kinds of tracks, see where we settle in.’ Then start to establish goals from there on out.”
Patrick certainly made headlines last weekend in the ‘500’ with her great drive. But she must prove that she can remain competitive across the short and intermediate (1.5 to 2-mile) tracks that make up the bulk of the Sprint Cup schedule.
She can get started on that this weekend at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, where she has experience dating back to her IndyCar days. However, the majority of her experience at PIR is in stock cars; she has five career Nationwide Series starts at the “Desert Jewel” (best finish of 10th) and finished 17th in her first Cup run there last fall.
In the meantime, Patrick is sticking with her game plan and also looking to add on the foundation of her efforts in 2012.
“The only thing we can go off of is at the end of last year and running solid inside that Top 20, hopefully get inside that Top 15,” she said.
“That’s really all I can think right now…It might change after five races. It might be better. Who knows? It might be worse. We’re going to kind of pick up where we left off.”
Jun 19, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
For the second year in a row, the Iowa Corn Indy 250 field will be determined by a series of heat races. Wanting to make some changes to their usual oval qualifying format – and perhaps nodding to the state of Iowa’s strong heritage of short-track racing – INDYCAR instituted the heat format last season…
Jun 19, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT
On the surface, Tuesday’s announcement by International Speedway Corp., promising a palatial $400 million makeover of Daytona International Speedway sounded great. But the fact the track will have 46,000 less seats once the project is completed in 2016 — a decrease of more than 30,000 from its current capacity of 147,000 — has caused at…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT
As NASCAR’s Nationwide Series prepares for its fourth go-round on the challenging and twisting 4.05-mile, 14-turn road course at Road America in central Wisconsin this Saturday, a report Wednesday suggests that Indy cars may soon return there, perhaps as early as next season. SpeedTV.com’s Robin Miller reported that the open-wheel series is considering hosting a…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT
NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace was wise to mimic Richmond International Raceway when it came time for him to help design the Iowa Speedway in the early 2000s. Like RIR, Iowa is a short track that “thinks” like a superspeedway and boasts a decent amount of banking that enables drivers to embrace that mentality as well.…
Jun 19, 2013, 10:23 AM EDT
There may be a new name on the 43-car starting grid of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway. That is if New Mexico native Alex Kennedy manages to qualify the No. 19 MediaMaster/Dream Factory Toyota on the twisting 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course. Driving for Humphrey Smith Racing, Kennedy, 21, hopes to…
Jun 19, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
As the IZOD IndyCar Series returned to the NBC Sports Network for this past weekend’s Milwaukee IndyFest, so too did we check in with our resident NBCSN driver analyst Townsend Bell for his take on the 250-lapper at the historic Milwaukee Mile. Since Bell’s last “Ten with Townsend” after Brazil, he’s finished fourth in the GT…
Jun 18, 2013, 8:58 PM EDT
Brian Vickers loves to race, any time, anywhere. He also loves to travel. He’ll get more than his share of both this weekend, as he’s the only driver who will attempt to race in Saturday’s Nationwide Series Johnsonville Sausage 200 (no, we’re not making that name up) at Road America and then double up by…
Jun 18, 2013, 7:37 PM EDT
Nationwide Series crew member Ryan Hess has been suspended by NASCAR for the second time in 10 months for failing a random drug test, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday. In a brief statement, NASCAR said: “Ryan Hess, a crew member in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning…
Jun 18, 2013, 7:09 PM EDT
Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards have apparently toned down their post-race rhetoric against each other following Biffle’s win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. “We’re going to sit down and talk about it, just expectations, what can you do to help another competitor,” Biffle said during NASCAR’s weekly media teleconference call on Tuesday. “I’ve backed up…
Jun 18, 2013, 5:52 PM EDT
When New Hampshire Dragway opened its doors in 1966, its goal was to eventually play host to a National Hot Rod Association national event. It may have taken nearly 50 years to fulfill that goal, but drag racing fans wanting to see the sport’s biggest stars will finally get that opportunity in this weekend’s inaugural…
Jun 18, 2013, 4:43 PM EDT
Big changes are on the way for NASCAR’s most famous racetrack, Daytona International Speedway, with the most significant facelift since the track opened 54 years ago in 1959. Home of the season-opening Daytona 500 and the early July Coke Zero 400, the track will undergo a multi-phase update that will break ground July 5, the…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:59 PM EDT
You’ve heard of the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the Orange Blossom Special and the Wabash Cannonball. Now you can add the NASCAR Express to the list, as fans attending this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/SaveMart 350 race and activities at Sonoma Raceway will have a rather unique way to say they’ve arrived — at the racetrack,…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:17 PM EDT
Sonoma Raceway will honor its late public relations director, John Cardinale, during this weekend’s 25th Toyota/SaveMart 350 activities. Cardinale passed away in March after a two-year fight with stage IV gastric cancer. He had worked at the track since 1998 and was promoted to Vice President of Media and Community Relations in 2003, a post…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT
Living in Los Angeles, Pirelli World Challenge driver Duncan Ende is constantly reminded of the dangers of distracted driving. “It’s bad when I’m driving in my car and sometimes really scary when I’m on my road bicycle, and drivers on the road are speaking on the phone, looking at the map on their phone, or…
Jun 18, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT
Force India’s pair of drivers has made the most of the Pirelli tires this year, as evident by their performances in Canada. The validation for the prime medium compound tires came via Paul Di Resta, who ran a 56-lap opening stint in Montreal before switching to the supersofts for the finish. He ultimately finished seventh…
Jun 18, 2013, 12:50 PM EDT
As Chicago temperatures crept close to 90 degrees on Monday, NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Regan Smith and Travis Pastrana cooled off in a unique way — and did a good deed in the process. Making several stops around the Windy City, Smith, who won Saturday’s NNS race at Michigan, and Pastrana sold ice cream bars…
Jun 18, 2013, 12:15 PM EDT
Sooner or later, it seems every team in the Formula One paddock might be interconnected by way of similar names or branding. The latest chapter came Tuesday, as Lotus announced a 35 percent sale to an investment consortium called Infinity. And now we begin our six degrees of Kevin Bacon to describe the tangential relationships…
Jun 18, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT
Lotus F1 Team had been wholly owned by Genii Capital, but on Tuesday the Enstone-based squad announced a sale of 35 percent stake of the team to a new investor group called Infinity Racing Partners Limited. Noting the spelling, this Infinity is not at all related to Infiniti, the car manufacturer that sponsors Red Bull.…
Jun 18, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT
NASCAR driver Mike Harmon has turned himself in to authorities after warrants were issued for him and a business partner. Rowan County (N.C.) Sheriff’s deputies said warrants were issued on Monday, while Harmon and his business partner are charged with breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering. It’s the latest turn in the…
Jun 18, 2013, 10:03 AM EDT
Ferrari has crunched the numbers from the first seven Grands Prix of the 2013 Formula One season and determined it has been one of the top overtaking teams this year. That highlights the team’s qualifying gap to Red Bull and Mercedes this year – Ferrari is yet to take a pole position – but nonetheless…
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