The No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS is loaded up and ready. Crew chief Tony Gibson and the GoDaddy.com crew are ready. And, most importantly, Danica Patrick is ready for the start of her first full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
The marathon 36-race Sprint Cup schedule begins with the 55th Daytona 500 Feb. 24 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. And it marks the first race in Patrick’s first full season in NASCAR’s top division.
After seven full seasons in the IZOD IndyCar Series and one full season of NASCAR Nationwide Series competition, Patrick is about to embark on the longest and toughest season in all of racing. In IndyCar, she competed in only one race a year of 500 miles in length – the world famous Indianapolis 500. In the Sprint Cup Series, 10 of the 36 races on the schedule are 500 miles or more in length and only six are less than 300 miles.
Patrick will drive more miles than she ever has in a season, but she’ll do so with a veteran crew led by crew chief Gibson. The Go Daddy crew and Gibson worked with Patrick last November at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Phoenix International Raceway in order to get prepared for the 2013 season.
The two-race “get-to-know-you” session worked well as Patrick had her two best Sprint Cup races of 2012. She finished 24th at Texas and 17th at Phoenix, her best two Sprint Cup finishes in 10 career starts, all of which came last season.
While Patrick, a Rookie of the Year candidate, lacks a ton of Sprint Cup experience, a new car may help level the playing field for her as she embarks on her first full season at NASCAR’s highest level. NASCAR’s sixth-generation Sprint Cup car (Gen-6) is being used for the first time this season, meaning even veteran drivers won’t have old notes to work from, given that the new machines are vastly different (and better looking) than the Gen-5 automobiles.
So the car is ready, the team is prepared and the driver is relaxed and focused as the new journey begins.