On Wednesday night, Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will trade in her firesuit for formal wear as she serves as a presenter at The ESPYS in Los Angeles. The 25th annual celebration of the best moments from the year in sports is scheduled to air live at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC and the night will mark the 13th consecutive year that Patrick has been a part of the event.
After the star-studded festivities conclude in Los Angeles, Patrick will travel to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and return to her firesuit, helmet and racing shoes for Sunday’s Overton’s 301 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event.
The gates first opened to what is now known as New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 1990. Built as a 1.058-mile oval, the track soon earned the nickname “The Magic Mile.” Now, as NASCAR Cup Series teams head to the track for Sunday’s race, Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team will be ready to find some magic of their own at the track.
Patrick has made eight NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire with a career-best 14th-place effort there in July 2016. In two Xfinity Series starts, she finished a career-best 14th in July 2012. Patrick also earned a sixth-place result in the 2011 IndyCar Series race at the track.
After a top-15 run last July, Patrick returned to the track in September and scored an 18th-place finish, which marked her second-highest NASCAR Cup Series finish at New Hampshire.
This weekend, Patrick heads to New Hampshire fresh off of a 15th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The effort marked the team’s second top-15 finish of the season. While Patrick has earned a top-10 at “The Magic Mile” in open-wheel competition, she’s yet to find the same success in stock cars. As the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team looks to build on the momentum from its run at Kentucky, the weekend ahead could provide a great opportunity for Patrick to finally find some magic at the track in the form of her first top-10 finish in a stock car there.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are you looking forward to as you return to New Hampshire this weekend?
“I love the area. I do. I love the track, too, because I love short-track racing. When I come to Loudon, I love the lobster. I go to this place that does this amazing, humongous – like way-too-much-food – stuffed lobster dish. And I love the lakes. I’m reminded every time on Saturday, when I drive into the local town, that there’s a farmer’s market, or what looks like one during the day, so I’ve got to try and catch that this year. The summers in the north are so beautiful. I grew up near Chicago, so I really appreciate that. I just enjoy the area, but the racing is great because, again, it’s short-track racing. It’s a little bit interesting because of the different banking throughout the track from lane one to lane two that makes for good racing.”
How challenging is New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“It’s flat and tough to get around, sometimes. You just have to make sure you get through the corners OK and are able to get on the gas quickly on the straightaways. It’s tough but, if you have a good car, you can pass and move up through the field. But it can be challenging if it’s not working in your favor.”