Danica Is Ready For The Challenge of Auto Club Speedway

Danica Patrick

The NASCAR Goes West journey continues for Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as they travel to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

The race in Fontana marks the third and final event of this year’s three-race jaunt out West for NASCAR Cup Series teams. The No. 10 Aspen Dental team was credited with a 36th-place finish on the first leg of the trip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after engine failure. Patrick finished 22nd in the second round of the West Coast adventure last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

As the No. 10 team moves on to Fontana this week, it is looking to end the NASCAR Goes West journey with a solid run. Sunday’s race will mark Patrick’s fifth NASCAR Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway. Her top finish at the track is a 14th-place effort she earned in March 2014. Patrick also has three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 2-mile oval.

In last year’s race at Fontana, Patrick started 31st and ran as high as 16th before midrace contact with a competitor sent Patrick into the wall, ending the team’s day early. She was credited with a 38th-place finish.

In addition to her stock car experience at the track, Patrick also competed in the 2005 IndyCar Series event at Fontana. She started fourth and led two laps before being involved in an accident late in the race and finished 18th.

As Patrick returns to Fontana this weekend, her No. 10 Ford Fusion will feature the blue-and-white branding of Aspen Dental. One of the largest and fastest-growing brands in the United States, Aspen Dental has been a partner of SHR since 2012 and aligned with Patrick since 2014. In the brand’s sixth year with SHR and fourth with Patrick, it will serve as the primary sponsor of Patrick’s No. 10 Ford Fusion for a double-digit slate of races in 2017.

Patrick has helped shine a spotlight on oral health across a multitude of channels since partnering with the brand. She promotes Aspen Dental’s Healthy Mouth Movement – a community-giving initiative that has delivered more than $7.5 million in donated dentistry for veterans since its inception, and also appeared in “A Taste of the Future” – a hidden-camera video campaign designed to raise awareness about the long-term consequences of delaying dental care.

Sunday, Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team will look to head home with a smile and close out the West Coast swing with a solid finish at Fontana.

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
What are your overall thoughts on Fontana?

“Fontana’s pavement has not aged gracefully (laughs), so it makes for a challenging race. It’s a challenge to set up the car – the seams move the car around a lot. It’s very fast, yet you still have to get the car to rotate and it seems really tight off of (turn) two. It’s one of the tougher places to get the balance right. But, if you do strike a good balance in practice, you have a chance to have a really good day on Sunday.”

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 5 of 36 – Auto Club 400 – Fontana

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

Auto Club 400 Notes of Interest: 
  • The Auto Club 400 will mark Danica Patrick’s 159th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and her fifth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Patrick’s top NASCAR Cup Series finish at the track is a 14th-place effort she earned in March 2014. Patrick also has three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 2-mile oval.
  • Patrick competed in the 2005 IndyCar Series event at Fontana. She started fourth and led two laps before being involved in an accident late in the race and finished 18th.
  • Media Availability: Patrick will visit the Auto Club Speedway media center Friday, March 24, at 9:15 a.m. PDT (12:15 p.m. EDT). The event will be streamed live atNASCAR.com/PressPass.
  • About Aspen Dental: There are more than 600 Aspen Dental practices across 36 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.
  • Local Ties: Auto Club Speedway is the home track for the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team’s Wayne Anderson. The 37-year-old hauler driver hails from West Covina, California, located approximately 30 miles west of the speedway.
  • 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 Clash (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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.