As Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams travel to Kentucky Speedway in Sparta for Saturday night’s Kentucky 400, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding Americaâ Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will be looking to get just a little bit more during this visit to the 1.5-mile track.
Last year, teams were faced with quite a challenge when they showed up to the newly repaved and reconfigured track. Between July 2015 and July 2016, the track was repaved and underwent changes in turns one and two, where the banking was increased from 14 to 17 degrees. In addition, the width of the pit road exit lane was increased and, as a result, the racing surface in those turns is now nearly 20 feet narrower.
Heading into the race weekend last year, teams were forced to start over with their notebooks for Kentucky. Patrick and the No. 10 team proved to be up for the challenge and scored a 17th-place finish. The effort marked Patrick’s career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish at the 1.5-mile track.
In addition to Patrick’s Cup Series experience at the track, she’s also competed there in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IndyCar Series. Her best Xfinity Series result at Kentucky was a 12th-place finish she earned in June 2012. In seven IndyCar races at Kentucky, she led a total of three laps and earned four top-10 finishes, and qualified on the pole in 2005.
When Patrick and the No. 10 team visit Kentucky this year, her Ford Fusion will carry the light blue of Nature’s Bakery, as well as the orange hue of Feeding America. Nature’s Bakery, a snacks and food brand that supports health-conscious living and active lifestyles, recently announced a partnership with Feeding America that will see the company donate funds to provide 1.65 million meals* for families struggling with hunger. In addition, Nature’s Bakery will supplement the donation to Feeding America with an additional 135,000 pounds of Nature’s Bakery food products donated to select foods banks in the Feeding America nationwide network. As part of the company’s commitment to help end hunger faced by 42 million Americans, Nature’s Bakery is leveraging its sponsorship of SHR to help create national awareness for the cause by featuring Feeding America logos on the No. 10 Ford Fusion this weekend at Kentucky.
After scoring her career-best finish at the track in 2016, Patrick and the No. 10 team will be looking for just a bit more as they plan to improve upon last year’s results during their return to Kentucky for Saturday night’s race.
*$1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding Americaâ on behalf of local member foods banks. Nature’s Bakery guarantees a minimum of 1,650,000 meals to Feeding Americaâ and member foods banks from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding America Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your overall thoughts on Kentucky?
“It’s one of those tracks where I have experience but, obviously, not a lot of it in a stock car. I’ve been there a lot, but I’ve only run a handful of stock-car races there. I ran a lot of IndyCar races at Kentucky but, obviously, those aren’t really going to benefit me this weekend. In the past, the track had a lot of character to it with the bumps. However, with the repave last year and other changes, the track presents different challenges now.”
We’re in the part of the NASCAR schedule where you have to deal with the extreme summer heat. How much does your workout regimen help you keep from getting fatigued in the hot conditions?
“My workout regimen is mostly for me, but it definitely doesn’t hurt inside the car and, to a certain extent, it definitely helps. There’s a certain point where, if you’re unfit, you can get tired or exhausted in the car. Some of the exercising I do is needed, but do I need to work out every day or twice a day to do my job? No, but I enjoy doing it. Our job is a lot of repetition but, more than anything, it’s endurance. So, when I’m inside the car, all of the working out that I do definitely helps me.”