|Fresh off of a 17th-place effort last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) enter Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ready to gain momentum to help propel them to greater successes through the rest of the year.
Patrick started the season with a 33rd-place finish at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, but the result wasn’t indicative of her No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team’s overall performance during Daytona Speedweeks. Patrick earned finishes of fourth and sixth in the Advance Auto Parts Clash and Can-Am Duel, respectively, and she was scored as high as second in the Daytona 500 before her solid performance ended prematurely due to a multicar accident.
Last weekend in Atlanta, Patrick started 24th, was scored as high as 15th and came back from being two laps down to finish on the lead lap in the 17th position. While the results of the first two race weekends haven’t been as good as Patrick would like, they have put her and the No. 10 team well ahead of where they were at this point last year. In 2016, Patrick entered the race in Las Vegas ranked 29th in the driver point standings. This weekend she heads to the track 22nd and hopes to continue to improve.
While Patrick has yet to finish inside the top-20 at the NASCAR Cup Series level at Las Vegas, she is no stranger to success at the 1.5-mile track. In 2011, she brought home a fourth-place finish in Xfinity Series competition. That effort marked the best-ever finish by a woman in a NASCAR national stock-car series, topping a fifth-place run by the late Sara Christian in a NASCAR Cup Series race in 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway.
As Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team return to Las Vegas this weekend, they plan to improve upon her NASCAR Cup Series results at the track in an effort to continue building momentum.
|DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
|Are you a fan of going to Las Vegas?
“I have to say I’m not a gambler at all. However, I am definitely a huge foodie and I love checking out great restaurants. Las Vegas has a ton of great options, so I do enjoy going out there to check out some of the great food the city has to offer.”
There are a lot of logistics involved in the West Coast swing. What do you do? Do you stay out West or do you commute like you would to other NASCAR races?
“I stay out on the West Coast. I lived in Phoenix full-time for 10 years. My house is there, so I base in Phoenix and it’s perfect. Those are long trips, back-and-forth, from the West Coast. Those are four- and five-hour plane rides each way, so it definitely functions logistically a lot easier to just base myself on the West Coast and I think more and more people are doing that. I think it’s smart.”
Coming out of Daytona, we hit a stretch of the season that includes Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana. How important is that slate of races?
“The first five races of the year are super-critical for the points championship but, in particular, they’re a good indicator of how the rest of the year is going to go from a performance standpoint. With those tracks, you’re covering all the bases with a short track, being Phoenix, a mile-and-a-half with Atlanta, a mile-and-a-half with Vegas – with Vegas being high-grip and Atlanta being low-grip – and then you go to Fontana, which is a 2-mile, flat, wide oval, so you’ve got a lot of different challenges. If we can perform well as a team at all of those tracks and have the mechanical handling that we need, and good understanding as to what we need there to balance out the aerodynamics – which, hopefully, aero-wise, we’re in good shape – then we’ll have a great start to the year.”
Aspen Dental Racing Team Report
Round 3 of 36 – Kobalt 400 – Las Vegas
|Car No.: 10 – Aspen Dental Ford Fusion
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: Tony Cardamone
Hometown: Bristol, Virginia
Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina
Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples
Hometown: Hudson, Illinois
Spotter: Brandon Benesch
Hometown: Cumberland, Wisconsin
Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Justin Wilson
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder
Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa
Second Gas Man: Nate Spoor
Hometown: Penn Yan, New York
Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard
Hometown: King, North Carolina
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 Drivers: Wayne Anderson and Chris Burton
Hometown: West Covina, California and Bethel, Ohio, respectively
Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire
Hometown: Palmyra, New York
Shock Specialist: Jimmy Rowlands
Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania
Engineers: Scott Bingham and William Lee
Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, respectively
Underneath Mechanic: Nick McIntosh
Hometown: Havre, Montana
Front End Mechanic: Joe Zanolini
Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania
|Kobalt 400 Notes of Interest:
- The Kobalt 400 will mark Danica Patrick’s 157th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and her fifth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Patrick’s top NASCAR Cup Series finish at the 1.5-mile track is 21st, a mark she earned both in 2016 and 2014.
- Xfinity Experience: In addition to Patrick’s NASCAR Cup Series experience at Las Vegas, she scored a fourth-place finish in Xfinity Series competition at the track in 2011. That effort marked the best-ever finish by a woman in a NASCAR national stock-car series, topping a fifth-place run by the late Sara Christian in a NASCAR Cup Series race in 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway.
- About Aspen Dental: There are nearly 600 Aspen Dental practices across 35 states and each practice offers patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to address their dental challenges. Every Aspen Dental practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work – allowing patients to have the peace of mind that they are taken care of and protected, so they can focus on getting the healthy mouth they deserve. In 2016, Aspen Dental practices recorded more than 4.1 million patient visits and welcomed nearly 900,000 new patients.
- 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 NASCAR Cup Series 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 (Cup, Xfinity, Truck).
- Competed in every NASCAR Cup Series race in 2013, becoming the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.
- Became the first female to compete in the non-points NASCAR All-Star race (2013) and Sprint Unlimited (2014).
- Have the most starts of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
- With six top-10 finishes, holds the record for the most top-10 finishes of any female in NASCAR 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!