There’s no doubt that the eyes of the sports world will be firmly focused on Texas this weekend.
Not only does the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series head to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for round seven of its 36-race season, but this weekend the city of Dallas plays host to the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.
So, for this weekend at least, everything is bigger in Texas, particularly when it comes to live sporting events.
And while Danica Patrick and her No. 10 GoDaddy/Get Found Racing team will be focused on “finding” what it takes to have a strong performance at the 1.5-mile oval, the No. 10 team also hopes to take a cue from the college basketball players across town competing for the NCAA championship by rebounding from a disappointing 32nd-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway last weekend.
For Patrick, Texas could be just the place to regain some momentum as it is the racetrack where she has gained the most experience in her career.
Of all the tracks where Patrick will compete in 2014, she has the most starts at Texas, having driven in 15 major-league races – three Sprint Cup, four NASCAR Nationwide Series, and eight in the Verizon IndyCar Series. And it’s a track she’s taken a liking to in all three divisions.
In her first Sprint Cup outing at Texas in November 2012, Patrick finished a respectable 24th. The race was also her first with crew chief Tony Gibson. In her four Nationwide Series races, Patrick has three top-15 finishes, including an eighth-place effort in April 2012. In Patrick’s eight IndyCar Series starts at the 1.5-mile oval, she has five top-10 finishes, including a third-place result in June 2007 and a second-place finish in June 2010.
Already this season, Patrick has posted solid performances at two other intermediate tracks on the circuit. At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, she and the No. 10 team were fast most of the weekend. She posted the fifth-fastest lap during Thursday afternoon’s four-hour test session and then was 13th-fastest in Friday practice.
During knockout-style qualifying at Las Vegas, Patrick posted the 10th-fastest lap during round one and advanced to round two, where she placed herself 22nd on the starting grid. From there, she continued to turn heads by clocking the sixth-fastest lap in Saturday morning’s practice session and the fastest 10-lap average.
Patrick rolled off 22nd in the race, fell to 30th in the early going and went a lap down, but she fought her way to a respectable 21st-place result.
Then, two weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Patrick started 27th. She overcame a flat left-front tire late in the race and survived a treacherous green-white-checkered restart to score a 14th-place finish – her first top-15 of the 2014 season.
With the combination of Patrick’s experience at the Texas track and the team’s fast racecars and impressive runs on intermediate tracks earlier this season, the No. 10 team hopes that Texas benefits from the state’s “everything is bigger” reputation and that this is the weekend a top-10 finish can “Get Found.”