Sprint Cup Series
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.
Danica Patrick came to New Hampshire bruised – literally and figuratively – after a bad weekend at Daytona.
Danica Patrick had a fast car. Danica Patrick had confidence. Danica Patrick was the one to beat. But at Daytona, nothing is guaranteed, especially a win.
Danica Patrick, and the rest of the Nationwide series field, had no chance against Austin Dillon at Kentucky Speedway during the Feed the Children 300.
Danica Patrick gained a lot of respect – from fans, media and fellow drivers – during the Sargento 200 at Road America this weekend.
The Irish Hills of Michigan were not kind to Danica Patrick in the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
While the Nationwide Series had an off weekend, Danica Patrick set her sights on another new adventure. Invited by team owner Tony Stewart, Patrick headed to Rossburg, Ohio and Eldora Speedway for the eighth annual Prelude To The Dream, a Dirt Late Model Race with proceeds benefiting Feed The Children on June 6th.
Memorial Day weekend is famous for its racing. The Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 are American traditions and winning one of these two are high on a driver’s wish list.
The weekend started off well for Patrick, finishing ninth in the only practice and qualifying ninth in a field that included only one Cup driver (Kurt Busch). The Cup regulars and Truck series drivers were in Charlotte, so many chose not to pull double duty.
The Lady in Black had a date with the Lady in Green this weekend at Darlington Raceway, better known as the track “too tough to tame.” Danica Patrick was set to make her first start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since Daytona and all eyes were on her.
In January, on the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, Danica Patrick announced she would skip the Indianapolis 500 in order to race in the Coca-Cola 600. This came as a surprise to many, as it had been rumored her contract to drive full-time for JR Motorsports allowed her to take time off to run the famous race she always spoke fondly of but never won (her highest finish was third in 2009).
She strutted into the media center for her availability, wearing beads she received while on Talladega Boulevard, a traditional fan and driver favorite hangout while at the superspeedway. Not one to miss a sponsor plug, she told the media they would have to go to to godaddy.com to find out how she got them.
For the first time since Danica Patrick announced she was switching from IndyCar to NASCAR, the biggest story out of Richmond this weekend was not the driver of the No. 7 GoDaddy Chevrolet. Extreme sports rock star Travis Pastrana made his debut in the series after putting it off for a year when he broke his ankle and foot at the X Games last year.
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