Danica Patrick appeared with fellow NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Allgaier at Chicago’s Oak Street Beach a couple days ago.
The Roscoe, Illinois native left open wheel racing for stock car racing this year, and talked about some of the differences between the two, and the adjustment in general.
“Leaving IndyCar and the difference between being part time and full time, it just helps every weekend, I’m able to work on things more diligently, and then see improvements instead of having to wait a month to try something new,” Patrick said.
“I’ve always said that the tracks are so much different from IndyCar perspective to a NASCAR perspective. In IndyCar we’re able to run right along the bottom, and in NASCAR you have to more a traditional line, it’s not flat out like it was in those IndyCar days.”
Patrick said it’s made things more rewarding and more challenging.
“Every weekend, especially for me I’m new, I’m working on something and I have a lot of big improvements I can make, they get smaller over time,” she said.
“For me, it’s fun, any weekend could be a light switch for me and things start to make sense and that’s the fun part of a fast learning curve at the beginning, but it’s a lot of work, and a lot of races that give yourself a chance to do that. The most important thing for me is that I make improvements race after race.”
Her highest finish thus far this season is eighth.
Patrick, Stenhouse and Allgaier will race in the STP 300 July 22 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet and again in the Dollar General 300 Sept. 15. Patrick is expected to also race in Joliet at the Geico 400 Sept. 16, the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
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Stenhouse, the defending Nationwide champion, addressed rumors that he would be racing in the Cup series for Roush Fenway Racing either at the end of this season or full-time next year.
“I think we’re going to run some more [Cup races] this year but I’m not sure which ones,” said Stenhouse, who has three wins this season. “There are plans in the works and the plan is still to go full-time next year in the Cup series.”
Patrick unveiled a racecar with the new Chicagoland Speedway logo. She was the main attraction in an event which included a re-branding of the speedway.
“As we kickoff our 11th year as NASCAR’s home in Chicago, we are proud to host two major event weekends of racing for one of the most watched and attended sports in the country. Each year we welcome thousands of guests from all 50 states and several different countries who expect to see elements of Chicago when they come to an event at our facility, and we intend to deliver on that,” said Chicagoland Speedway president Scott Paddock.
“In addition to our new branding, we’re proud to have our partners at Levy Restaurants, a long-time staple of the Chicago sports and restaurant scene, committed to enhancing the food and beverage experience by bringing classic Chicago foods and introducing signature offerings to the Speedway. Their expertise will allow fans to experience one of the world’s greatest cities each time they visit.
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