Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in search of another top-10 finish at the track.
When the series visited the concrete mile oval in June, Patrick was scored as low as 31st early in the race. On three occasions, Patrick went a lap down to the leader, but the team persevered and was able to get back on the lead lap each time due to taking the wave around, earning the free pass and catching a break as the caution flag waved in the midst of green-flag pit stops.
She lined up in the 15th position as the race went into overtime and, despite sustaining damage on the white-flag lap, Patrick was able to take the checkered flag in the 10th position. The effort marked Patrick’s career-best NASCAR Cup Series result at the track and the team’s best finish of the 2017 season.
While Patrick has made 10 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Dover, she also has NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East experience at the track. In three Xfinity Series starts at the track, Patrick’s top-result was a 16th-place finish earned in September 2012. When Patrick competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Dover in 2010, she earned a sixth-place finish.
As Patrick returns to Dover, she knows that while a top-10 finish is the team’s goal, it won’t necessarily be easy to obtain at the track nicknamed the “Monster Mile.”
“Dover is fun,” Patrick said. “It’s fast and it can make for a really long day of racing. I think that’s part of the appeal of it – how demanding it can be. We definitely want to stay out of trouble, which is easier said than done at these types of tracks.”
Patrick and the No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion team enter Dover on the heels of back-to-back 18th-place finishes at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The results marked the first top-20 finishes for the team since Patrick earned a 15th-place result in July at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
After scoring five top-15 runs this summer and a top-10 at Dover, Patrick and the No. 10 team are ready to get back into contention for another top-10 finish at the “Monster Mile.”
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How tough is Dover to drive?
“It can be a real challenge. It’s quite quick and, when you come off turns two and four, it drops you down like a roller coaster. You just have to have a good setup and make sure everything is working right or it can be a long day. It’s actually a pretty long race, so you have to be prepared. But it’s a fun track and I’m looking forward to it.”
What are your thoughts about Dover?
“I always like going to Dover. The track is pretty fun. I remember everyone telling me how unique and challenging Dover was prior to my first race. At the time, I didn’t have a whole lot to compare that track to. They said it was like a larger version of Bristol, but I hadn’t raced at Bristol yet, either. Dover is fun. It’s fast and it can make for a really long day of racing. I think that’s part of the appeal of it – how demanding it can be. We definitely want to stay out of trouble, which is easier said than done at these types of tracks.”