Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has made nine starts at Sonoma dating back to 2005.
Seven of those, however, came in the IndyCar Series and unfortunately won’t offer much assistance to Patrick as she competes in Sunday’s Save Mart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
In two Sprint Cup visits to Sonoma, she earned an 18th-place finish last year and a 29th-place result in June 2013.
The IndyCar Series utilized two different Sonoma road-course layouts during the seven years Patrick competed there, and neither is identical to the 1.99-mile, 10-turn configuration she will drive Sunday.
Patrick is hoping her Sprint Cup road-course racing this weekend goes better than her three road-course appearances in Xfinity Series competition in 2012. All three were memorable, if not downright strange.
In the June 2012 Xfinity event at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Patrick was fourth on the final lap when she was bumped into a gravel trap by Jacques Villeneueve, which led her to finish 12th. Two months later, Patrick finished 43rd at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International after Ryan Truex spun in front of her on the start. She could not avoid his spinning car and made heavy contact with his machine.
But the strangest Xfinity road-course experience of all came one week later after Patrick had led 20 laps and was on the point at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal when a fan threw a shoe onto the track on lap 38 of 81. She couldn’t avoid running over it and, shortly thereafter – whether the shoe caused the problem or not – Patrick was forced to pit for mechanical repairs and finished 27th.
At Sonoma this weekend, Patrick is hoping to run a smooth and clean race, avoid any shoes on course, and build upon a solid 16th-place finish she and the GoDaddy team scored two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.