Danica Patrick and her fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitors will be working this Labor Day weekend; while the rest of America is getting drunk watching college football and making one last use of the grill/pool.
Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup race is certainly no holiday for drivers as the marathon, 325-lap event around the fast, old and slick 1.5 miles of Atlanta Motor Speedway asphalt is one of the biggest challenges of the season.
Atlanta is one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, but its old pavement means that cars slip and slide around, putting a driver’s ability to the test. Factor in that the race starts in the hot early evening sun and ends under the stars, and the race is one that can cause headaches for both drivers and crew chiefs as they attempt to figure out how to maximize the handling of their cars from beginning to end.
Danica Patrick and her crew chief Tony Gibson will attempt to find a handling package that is comfortable to drive but without compromising speed.
Danica Patrick on Atlanta:
“The first time I raced there was last year and I did both Nationwide and (Sprint) Cup. That seems like a long time ago and that was only my fifth Cup start, so I feel a little more confident and knowledgeable than I did a year ago. It’s a fast place. The tires definitely go off with the surface and the line moves around a lot.”
Danica Patrick on Kurt Busch coming to Stewart-Haas:
“I’m excited. I have known Kurt for a long time. It goes all the way back to when he drove an IndyCar (in 2003) at Sebring (Fla.), I believe. He drove a Rahal Letterman car and I was there watching that day.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)