The biggest story at JR Motorsports wasn’t Danica Patrick this weekend. Well, not directly.
Shortly before the green flag at Richmond International Raceway for the Nationwide series race, news broke that longtime competition director – and sometimes crew chief – Tony Eury Sr. had left the company.
For the last time on the circuit, Danica Patrick turned her first laps at a track. Atlanta Motor Speedway is a “cookie cutter” 1.5 mile track, similar to Texas and Charlotte, tracks where Patrick has already been.
The spring Bristol Motor Speedway was not the same as the Bristol Motor Speedway the drivers came to this past weekend. After uneventful racing in the Spring, track owner Bruton Smith took bulldozers to the track and ground the top of the track, creating a whole new Bristol.
The last time Danica Patrick was at a road course, she ran one of the best races of the season. A last lap punt into the gravel by Jacques Villeneuve ended her run and caused a stir in the racing world. Villeneuve didn’t take responsibility but his actions resulted in an apology from Penske Racing and many fans and members of the community wondered if he should be allowed to continue to race.
In a rare occasion, Danica Patrick wasn’t in the spotlight during pre-race media availability. Thanks to a rare road course weekend, JR Motorsports brought in road course “ringer” Ron Fellows, even making a contest on Twitter out of his appearance, calling it #Fellows5.
Before Saturday’s race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had won the last three races at Iowa Speedway. Even when his engine blew and he was wrecking with teammate Carl Edwards, he still came to the checkered flag first to keep his wining streak alive.
When Danica Patrick announced she was leaving IndyCar, she was also leaving all the IndyCar tracks that went along with the series. She made it known Indianapolis Motor Speedway would always be in her heart and she would one day go back – and win.
When the NASCAR Nationwide Series pulled into Chicagoland Speedway, Danica Patrick was at home. Literally. The Roscoe, Ill., native calls Chicago home and a win at the track nestled just outside the city would be extra special.
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