For the 12 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, it’s “Go Time” as the 10-race Chase kicks off with Sunday’s Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The 12 drivers best be “Go Getters” from the drop of the green flag if they’d like to be crowned champion 10 weeks from now at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
For the 31 Sprint Cup drivers not in the Chase, it’s also “Go Time,” as each wants to finish out the year as strong as possible to gain momentum and experience heading into 2014.
For Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the final 10 races are about finishing up her rookie year in strong fashion and continuing to gain valuable experience each time she hits the track.
Patrick has competed in a Sprint Cup race at every track that comprises the 10-race Chase, save for Homestead. She’ll make her second career starts at Chicagoland, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and her third starts at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Phoenix International Raceway.
Patrick is hoping to improve on her results at tracks she will visit a second and third time. Of the tracks where she has competed twice – Dover, Kansas, Charlotte, Texas and Phoenix, she improved her finishing result in race two at the first three. Patrick also bettered her qualifying effort at Kansas and Charlotte.
She and the GoDaddy team are banking on that trend and hope to continue starting and finishing higher than in the previous race. Should that be accomplished, it will provide the team plenty of energy heading into 2014.
This week’s race at Chicagoland is important on the track for Patrick, but also off the track as Chicagoland Speedway is about 116 miles south and east of her hometown of Roscoe, Ill. It’s a home race for Patrick, who will have plenty of friends and family in attendance at the 1.5-mile oval.