Looking back at the history of Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, members of the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) organization have left their mark over the years.
SHR co-owner Tony Stewart scored his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at the .75-mile oval in September 1999 and has three career wins at the track.
Kevin Harvick first found his way to victory lane at Richmond in the September 2006 NASCAR Cup Series race and has since earned two additional wins there.
Kurt Busch scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Richmond in September 2005 and won his second there in April 2015.
Clint Bowyer first won at Richmond in the NASCAR Cup Series ranks in May 2008 and made a return trip to victory lane at the track in April 2012.
While Stewart, Harvick, Busch and Bowyer have made their respective marks in the NASCAR Cup Series, Danica Patrick’s success at Richmond thus far has come in the open-wheel ranks.
The IndyCar Series competed at Richmond from 2001 to 2009, and Patrick competed in five of those events. She finished sixth in 2007 and 2008, then scored a fifth-place result in 2009.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion for SHR, will make her ninth trip to Richmond in the NASCAR Cup Series for Sunday’s Richmond 400. In the September 2016 NASCAR Cup Series race at the .75-mile oval, she started 29th and scored her best-ever finish at the track – a 15th-place effort.
When Patrick returns to the track this weekend, her No. 10 Ford will carry the colors of Code 3 Associates, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing professional animal disaster response and resources to communities, as well as administering professional training to individuals and agencies involved in animal-related law enforcement and emergency response. Its mission is accomplished through hands-on animal rescue and care operations during disaster events in the United States and Canada, and through certified animal welfare training seminars, which include animal cruelty training for investigators.
Patrick enters Richmond looking to turn things around and get back to scoring top-20 results. While she knows her IndyCar experience at Richmond won’t assist her this weekend, Patrick and her No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford team will be leaning on the knowledge of their SHR teammates in an effort to find NASCAR Cup Series success there.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your overall thoughts on Richmond?
“I’ve always enjoyed going to Richmond. I had fun racing Indy cars there. I liked driving the Xfinity car there, as well. We didn’t have the greatest results, but it was still fun.”
What makes the racing so good at Richmond?
“When you have a good car, it creates opportunities to pass. Turns one and two are kind of tight, and three and four are more of a long corner, so it’s a challenge to set the car up. We slip and slide there a bunch, anyway. In the past, we typically raced at Richmond at night, so there’s usually more grip. I’m sure we’ll be sliding around this weekend, since it’s going to be a day race again this year.”
This is the second year in a row that the spring race at Richmond is scheduled to run during the day versus racing at night. What are your expectations for Sunday’s race?
“We are definitely going to be moving around a lot more than you typically see when we race at Richmond at night. I kind of think we’re going to be miserable some of the time. I mean, there are times where the tires fall off and you’re like, ‘Shoot me out here, it’s terrible.’ And I have a feeling we’re going to have a few ‘shoot me’ moments this weekend where it’s just going to be moving all around and it’s going to be a lot of work. But as long as we have the opportunity to pass, I mean, even if you’re slip-sliding around and it feels like crap and you’re passing somebody, it’s still fun.”