Is Danica On A Hot Streak?

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) enter the weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on a bit of a hot streak after scoring consecutive top-15 finishes in the past four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races.

Patrick’s finishes include: 15th at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, 13th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, 11th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 15th at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The effort marks the first time in Patrick’s NASCAR Cup Series career that she’s finished inside the top-15 in four-consecutive events. And, in each instance, Patrick’s results have marked career-best NASCAR Cup Series finishes at each respective track.

As NASCAR Cup Series teams head to Watkins Glen for Sunday’s I Love New York 344k at The Glen, Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team look to continue that streak of solid results.

In four previous starts at the 2.45-mile road course, Patrick’s best NASCAR Cup Series finish is a 17th-place effort she earned in August 2015. While Patrick has yet to finish inside the top-15 at the track, her average finish at the track isn’t too far off the mark at 19.8.

In addition to Patrick’s stock car experience at Watkins Glen, she’s made six IndyCar Series starts at the track. In that time, Patrick earned one top-10, four top-15s and six top-20 finishes. However, those events were run on the 3.4-mile long course at Watkins Glen and not the 2.45-mile NASCAR configuration.

As Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team return to Watkins Glen, they’ll be cheered on by a sizable contingent of sponsor guests this weekend.

Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI), which was founded in Syracuse, New York, is a dental support organization that provides non-clinical business support services to more than 600 independently owned and operated Aspen Dental practices in 36 states. Given ADMI’s close proximity to Watkins Glen International, more than 150 employees will be in attendance at Sunday’srace to cheer on Patrick, including founder and CEO Bob Fontana. Aspen Dental first partnered with Patrick in 2014 and this season the company is the lead sponsor of her No. 10 Ford Fusion for a double-digit slate of races.

On the heels of their recent success and bolstered by the support of the Aspen Dental guests, Patrick and the No. 10 team look to continue the hot streak they’ve been on this weekend at Watkins Glen and take home another top-15 run.

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
You’re entering this weekend following a string of top-15 finishes. Where is your team at right now?

“I feel like we’re all positive and I feel like we’re communicating well. I guess, honestly, I had a lot of really unfortunate luck earlier in the year and should have had more top-10s or top-15s throughout the year for sure. So, I really knew in my heart that luck was going to shift, it was going to change at some point, it had to because it couldn’t keep going like it was. And I finally feel like it’s doing some of that. (The results have) come from not letting those weekends get to us and staying positive.”

There are only two road-course races on the NASCAR schedule, but they’re two of the most talked about and anticipated races of the year. Why is that?

“Road-course racing is something we don’t do a lot of and I think they are some fun races to watch because the cars don’t really handle very well. Our cars are like big buses trying to get around a racetrack and we’re sliding around, our brake zones are very long, tires go off and those are things that create passing opportunities.”

Is it a breath of fresh air to turn right and left, or do you have to psyche yourself up a bit to compete on a road course?

“Yeah, I feel like I have to psyche myself up a little bit in my approach about being aggressive and hitting the curbs and the ‘it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be fast’ kind of attitude. But it’s fun. I mean, as long you can come out of the box with that and kind of start that rhythm, it’s easier to maintain all weekend, then.”

Talk about what makes Watkins Glen so difficult and how different it is from Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

“We only go to road courses twice during the season. I don’t think it’s terribly different from Sonoma in the sense that both are road courses and if you can get your car to handle, then things you learn can transfer between both tracks. Even before the repave, Watkins Glen had a lot more grip than Sonoma. You tend to slide around a good bit at Sonoma. As long as the car has good high-speed balance, then that leads to good things at The Glen.”

Talk through the keys to running well at Watkins Glen International.

“The first real tough turn where the car is definitely on edge at Watkins Glen is when you’re coming up the hill to the back straight. It’s critical because it leads onto the back straightaway, so you want to carry as much speed as you can through there. Having a car with a good high-speed balance is really important there. In general, it’s very important that the car turns. It’s kind of the same thing everywhere we go – the car has to turn, but it can’t turn so much that you can’t use it because you’re loose. Then you go through the bus stop and, if you have to wait on the front (of the car) a lot, then you can’t really get back to the throttle. That carries to a very long high-speed right-hand corner, so there’s a lot of exit that you can use if you’re sliding on whatever end that might be. But getting the car to turn through all of that is really what’s going to allow you to be able to attack the throttle.”

What is it about the road courses that you enjoy?

“I’m very used to racing on road courses. That’s how I grew up in go-karting. It’s what I did in Europe when I raced and it’s what IndyCar Racing really became before I left. There were three IndyCar road-course races when I started and, by the end, the majority of the races were on road courses – I think it was eight or nine races. So, I’m super familiar and super comfortable on road courses, but jumping into a stock car on a road course does feel a lot different than a lot of the other cars I’ve driven before on a road course. It still makes for great races because the braking zones are longer in stock cars, which allows more opportunities for passing.”

What is the hardest part about road racing?

“The hardest part of road racing is just putting a whole lap together. The hardest part of road racing is just nailing every corner and doing it consistently when it counts.”

If you are good at Sonoma, can you be good at Watkins Glen?

“Probably. I think these cars are such big, heavy cars, the difference between Sonoma and Watkins Glen is not that big of a deal. It still has corners and has to go left and right and then go quickly and turn quickly and get the power down quickly and do things it’s not used to doing on a normal, everyday weekend. There should be plenty of carryover from road course to road course. If you are struggling with rear-grip issues, you probably are going to not be penalized as much at Watkins Glen as you are Sonoma.”

Aspen Dental Racing Team Report

Round 22 of 36 – I Love New York 355k at The Glen – Watkins Glen

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 Larry Lush

Hometown: West Covina, California and Waynesville, North Carolina, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire

Hometown: Palmyra, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn

Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut

 

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

I Love New York 355k at The Glen Notes of Interest: 
  • The I Love New York 355k at The Glen at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International will mark Danica Patrick’s 176th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In four previous starts at the 2.45-mile road course, Patrick’s best NASCAR Cup Series finish is a 17th-place effort she earned in August 2015. In her lone Xfinity Series start at the track, a lap-two incident relegated Patrick to a 43rd-place result. In addition, she’s made six IndyCar Series starts on the 3.4-mile long course at Watkins Glen. In that time, Patrick earned one top-10, four top-15s and six top-20 finishes.
  • Continuing the Streak: Patrick enters Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen ready to add to the string of top-15 finishes the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has racked up in recent weeks. She has finished inside the top-15 each of the last four weekends, including results of 15th at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, 13th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, 11th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 15th at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
  • Homecoming for Aspen Dental Management, Inc.: Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI), which was founded in Syracuse, New York, is a dental support organization that provides non-clinical business support services to more than 600 independently owned and operated Aspen Dental practices in 36 states. Given ADMI’s close proximity to Watkins Glen International, more than 150 employees will be in attendance at Sunday’s race to cheer on Patrick, including founder and CEO Bob Fontana. Aspen Dental first partnered with Patrick in 2014 and this season the company is the lead sponsor of her No. 10 Ford Fusion for a double-digit slate of races.
  • Aspen Dental: With more than 600 offices in 36 states, Aspen Dental-branded practices offer patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to get the full range of dental care they need along with the convenience and speed of onsite denture labs. That’s why the Aspen Dental network of independent dental care providers is one of the largest and fastest growing in the U.S. and saw more than 1.5 million patients in 2016. To find out more about how Aspen Dental practices make it simply easier for each of their patients to get the healthy mouth they deserve, visit AspenDental.com.
  • Going Home: For two members of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team the race weekend at Watkins Glen International will mean a trip to their home state of New York. Nate Spoor, the second gas man on the team, hails from the village of Penn Yan, located less than 30 miles northwest of the track. In addition, Nathan McGuire, tire specialist on the team, is from the town of Palmyra, which is less than 70 miles northwest of the track.
  • Dallas Dogs Available: A plush version of Dallas Stenhouse, the 3-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 SHR team store in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the SHR online store and at Shop.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 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!

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