It was a rocky start to Friday’s practice for Danica Patrick as she earned her Darlington Stripe after getting loose into turn two. She spoke to reporters afterwards in regards to what happened to cause her spin.
“We just went out on our second set of tires in the first practice. Kind of rebaselining the car, they were stickers. It wasn’t a qualifying run we were just trying to see what the balance was. I was just trying to get what I could from the tires. I think that for me that is something I have to continue to work on. Just got loose into (turn) two. In the second practice when we got back out there we made a change at the end that tightened up the whole track, but made me feel comfortable in (turn) two. That is telling me that the car is a little bit freer than I thought it was. You know what it’s just a learning process, it’s good to know and it reminds me that if I’m trying to achieve the balance out there on the track that I just have to discipline myself to take care of turn two. It’s so important to get through (turns) three and four and rotate. It’s a good reminder to be real careful through (turn) two,” she explained.
The silver lining for Patrick is last year, Darlington was one of the races she got a start at. While it is a new generation car, she does have that baseline from a year ago.
“I mean we are far better off unloading and hitting the track for the first time now versus last year. Last year we were last and really felt very uncomfortable out there. This time I felt much more comfortable. To the point that I was hanging it out a little bit more. Exploring the limits of the car and I explored too far. The biggest thing about experience is definitely just something that is good and makes you more comfortable. It’s not really very common for me to crash cars in practice on my own or crash cars on my own,” she continued.
The brush with The Lady In Black is also going to serve as a good learning tool for Patrick when it come so the race Saturday night under the lights.
“It’s never good to go to a back-up car and I don’t like to put that work on the team. They work so hard anyway. They work hard all week then they come to the track and do the same thing. Then to stack work on top of that, but the only way to find the limit is to sometimes get over it. I wish it would have been a Darlington stripe, instead of going to a back-up, but lesson learned for tomorrow night. I will be better for it,” Patrick said.
It will be another race full of opportunities for Patrick to learn a lot about the new car and racing at the track billed as Too Tough To Tame. The Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 starts at 7:30 PM EST tonight and can be seen on FOX.