Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 9/3/12

Danica Patrick’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series education continued Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where she finished 29th in the AdvoCare 500.

Patrick, who drives the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing via a collaborative agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing, never had raced at Atlanta until the Nationwide Series event Saturday night, in which she finished 13th.

So her weekend goal was to get familiar with the treacherous 1.54-mile oval and complete as many laps as possible, continuing the transition from INDYCAR to NASCAR.

 

She completed 321 of 327 laps while learning how drive on Atlanta’s worn pavement that causes even veteran drivers to slip and slide around due to a lack of grip. And as she has throughout her very brief Sprint Cup Series career, she got better throughout the weekend, with lap times improving right to the end of the race.

 

“I think we picked up overall throughout the race and we were learning about the car,” Patrick said. “I was a lot tighter than I thought I would be, but I was pretty afraid after last night at how loose I was in the Nationwide car to come tonight where I was in practice far looser in the Cup car than in the Nationwide car. I was afraid it was going to be just tank-slapping the whole time. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, race strategist) said that we were running a pretty conservative setup, and the changes he was making were not huge changes so it didn’t step over.

 

“We are just in that phase of get the laps done, feel it out, run different lines, bring the car home, finish the race and try and learn a bit as we go. He said that, I don’t know if it was the whole time or some of the time, but (we were) running top-20 lap times. I think that is a good step for me. This is definitely a challenging track. I struggle most on tracks where there is low grip or they are flat. I would consider this a low grip feeling track. So we did what we meant to do.”

Zipadelli was pleased with Patrick.

“I thought she did great,” Zipadelli said. “At the end of the day, if you look at our speed and compared to where we were in practice yesterday, we picked up a lot of speed. We had to tune our race car quite a bit because we tightened it up so much yesterday in the sun (during final practice), and tonight we were pretty tight.

“It’s certainly a very hard racetrack. There’s no grip. It’s a handful for the best of them. And this year it seems like this racetrack took a big turn with grip. It’s the same tire we’ve had for a couple of years. Every year this racetrack sits in the sun for a year, and you come back and race on it and it continues to lose grip.”

 

Denny Hamlin won the AdvoCare 500 to score his 21st career Sprint Cup victory, his series-high fourth of the season and his first at Atlanta. It was his second consecutive trip to victory lane as he also won last week at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Jeff Gordon finished .378 of a second behind Hamlin in the runner-up spot, while Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five. Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin comprised the remainder of the top-10.

 

There were six caution periods for 31 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 327-lap race, which was extended two laps beyond its scheduled distance by a green-white-checkered finish.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday, Sept. 8 in the series’ return to Richmond. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with its pre-race show at 7 p.m.

Patrick, who is running only a 10-race Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2012, will next drive in NASCAR’s top division in the GEICO 400 on Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ball's father says comment about Lakers was misquoted

Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Kim Mulkey gives awful post-game speech about Baylor scandal

Bill Walton goes shirtless during ESPN broadcast to the dismay of one woman

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker