Danica Patrick Prepares For The GEICO 500

Danica Patrick

 

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (April 27, 2016) – When Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) take to the track for Sunday’s Geico 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, they will have one goal in mind: getting to victory lane.

 

Talladega has always been considered a bit of a wild-card race, where a driver’s fate is not entirely in his or her own hands. It is one of only two racetracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where restrictor plates are used. A restrictor plate is a device installed at the air intake of an engine to limit its power in an effort to reduce speeds, increase safety and help provide an equal level of competition. The horsepower-restricted engines require drivers to draft together, side-by-side, at speeds approaching 200 mph.

 

As a result, superspeedway events often produce wild, unpredictable racing. In turn, there is always the distinct possibility of the seemingly inevitable “big one” – a multicar accident that typically eliminates multitudes of drivers from the event. This type of racing leaves teams wondering what it will take to survive the “big one” and make it to victory lane at the end of the day.

 

While Patrick has set records at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway – the other restrictor-plate superspeedway on the Sprint Cup schedule – she’s yet to find the same level of success at Talladega. With six prior starts at the track, her career-best finish is a19th-place effort she earned in October 2014. Last year, she finished 21st in both races at the 2.66-mile track.

 

This weekend, Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet SS will sport blue and silver for Aspen Dental’s second of four primary races this season. The car will have a different look than it did in Atlanta, featuring a “Turbocharged Tooth Fairy” logo on the a hood, a nod to Patrick’s role in Aspen Dental’s newest TV campaign that started airing earlier this month.

 

Aspen Dental dentists and teams recognize that going to the dentist isn’t always at the top of the “to-do” list. And so, as a part of the Aspen Dental Weekend at Talladega, a “Turbocharged Tooth Fairy Squad” will be roaming the grounds at the track to not only ask fans, “What would it take to get you to go to the dentist?” but also deliver on some of those wishes on the spot. It’s all a part of Aspen Dental’s commitment to doing whatever it takes to make dentistry easier.

 

As the Aspen Dental team looks to get NASCAR fans back to the dentist, Patrick’s team will be looking to answer the question: What would it take to get the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS into victory lane on Sunday at Talladega?

 

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
You’ve always liked going to Talladega. Why is that?

“The fans really make that place. The campgrounds, all that stuff, make 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.”

 

What are three words that describe restrictor-plate races?

“Three words that describe plate racing would be: crazy, fast and risky.”

 

Describe the intensity of restrictor-plate racing.

“It’s super easy to drive around the track flat-out by yourself. It’s not hard at all. When you put all of the other cars around you, it’s not necessarily about how the car feels on the track, although that can be an issue, for sure, at times. It’s more about what everyone else is doing around you. You’re constantly looking at what’s happening in front of you. You’re also looking at what’s behind you. Probably more important than what’s happening in front of you is what’s happening behind you – who’s coming, who’s following you, who’s helping you move forward. There have been plenty of times that I’ve gone to the bottom and complained, ‘Where’s my help?’ It seems like I’ll slot in on the bottom line and then everyone behind me disappears. You really have to have people behind you, pushing you. The race is constantly evolving and you and your spotter have to be on it. It’s a big race for spotters, so having a really good one that you trust is very important.”

 

What is your favorite part of going into the Talladega infield?

“My favorite part about going into the infield at Talladega is seeing things you’re not supposed to see. I mean, it’s a crazy party and I feel like those are the kinds of things that keep people coming back. It’s the atmosphere and the whole package of the weekend – not just the racing – but the parties, having fun and making memories.”

Aspen Dental Racing Team Report

Round 10 of 36 – Geico 500 – Talladega

Car No.: 10 – Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS

 

Teammates: 

Kevin Harvick – No. 4 Busch Fishing Chevrolet SS

Tony Stewart– No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet SS

Kurt Busch – No. 41 Monster Energy Chevrolet SS

 

At-Track PR Contact: Annette Randall, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 805, Annette.Randall@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Danica Patrick

Hometown: Roscoe, Illinois

 

Crew Chief: Billy Scott

Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida

 

Car Chief: Pete White

Hometown: Hinsdale, Massachusetts

 

Engine Builder: Hendrick Motorsports

Headquarters: Concord, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Todd Hamm

Hometown: Kutztown, Pennsylvania

 

Spotter: Brandon Benesch

Hometown: Cumberland, Wisconsin

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Tony Cardamone

Hometown: Bristol, Virginia

 

Front Tire Changer: Eric Maycroft

Hometown: Algonquin, Illinois

 

Second Gas Man: Seth James

Hometown: Fairbury, Nebraska

 

Front Tire Carrier: Matthew Holzbaur

Hometown: New Egypt, New Jersey

 

Windshield: Kyle Anderson (also serves as interior mechanic)

Hometown: Jewell, Iowa

 

Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman

Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana

 

Jackman: Nate House

Hometown: Gastonia, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhart, Texas

Road Crew Members:

Truck Driver: Wayne Anderson

 

Hometown: West Covina, California

 

Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire

Hometown: Palmyra, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Jimmy Rowlands

Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania

 

Engineers: Oliver Rivera and William Lee

Hometowns: Houston and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, respectively

 

Underneath Mechanic: Nick McIntosh

Hometown: Havre, Montana

 

Front End Mechanic: Joey Elliott

Hometown: Northwood, New Hampshire

Geico 500 Notes of Interest: 
  • The Geico 500 will mark Danica Patrick’s 128th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and her seventh at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. She finished a career-best 19th there in October 2014. In two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, her best finish was 13th in May 2012.
  • Back on Track with Aspen Dental: Aspen Dental returns as the primary sponsor of Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Talladega. Sunday’s race marks the second of four events where Aspen Dental will serve as the primary sponsor on Patrick’s racecar. In addition, Aspen Dental is an associate sponsor on the No. 10 Chevrolet for all non-primary races.
  • A New Look: While Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet SS will be blue and silver for Aspen Dental’s second of four primary races this season, it will sport a new look featuring a “Turbocharged Tooth Fairy” logo on the hood, a nod to Patrick’s role in Aspen Dental’s newest TV campaign that started airing earlier this month.
  • Turbocharged Tooth Fairy Squad: Aspen Dental dentists and teams recognize that going to the dentist isn’t always at the top of the “to-do” list. And so, as a part of the Aspen Dental Weekend at Talladega, a “Turbocharged Tooth Fairy Squad” will be roaming the grounds at the track to not only ask fans, “What would it take to get you to go to the dentist?” but also deliver on some of those wishes on the spot. It’s all a part of Aspen Dental’s commitment to doing whatever it takes to make dentistry easier.
  • Dallas Dogs Available: A plush version of Dallas Stenhouse, the 2-year-old miniature Siberian Husky that belongs to Patrick and her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is now available for sale. Race fans can purchase their own Dallas plush dog at the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team store in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the SHR online store and atShop.DanicaPatrick.com. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit animal charities.
  • For the History Books: Since Patrick began competing in NASCAR on a part-time basis in 2010, she has made plenty of history. Here is a recap of how she has altered the record books through the years:
    • ​Became the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500.
    • Led laps 90 to 91 of the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race. She also led laps 127 to 129.
    • Became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green (Daytona 2013). Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.
    • Finished 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
    • Finished 10th in 2012 Xfinity Series points, the highest points finish by a woman in the history of NASCAR’s top three series (Sprint Cup, Xfinity, Truck).
    • Competed in every Sprint Cup race in 2013, becoming the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.
    • Became the first female to compete in the nonpoints Sprint All-Star race (2013) and Sprint Unlimited (2014).
    • Have the most starts of any female in Sprint Cup Series competition.
    • With six top-10 finishes, holds the record for the most top-10 finishes of any female in Sprint Cup Series competition.
  • History Maker in IndyCar: Patrick became the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series in April 2008 by winning the IndyCar Series Japan Indy 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan.
  • Big Stage: In seven Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick finished in the top-10 six times, including a third-place result in 2009, the  best finish ever for a woman in the historic race.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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