Danica Patrick has been racing stock cars since 2010, full-time since 2012 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. She’s been full-time in the Sprint Cup Series since 2013 and has plenty of experience at several of the racetracks.
Pocono (Pa.) Raceway is not one of them.
In her seven years of IndyCar experience, the series never competed there, although it does now in July. The Nationwide Series doesn’t run there, either.
So for Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart Haas Racing (SHR), her only two starts at “The Tricky Triangle” came in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series.
Not a lot of experience for Patrick at one of the more unique racetracks where the Sprint Cup Series competes.
Pocono’s triangular layout was designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward and remains unlike any other track in the world with three different corners each modeled after a different track.
Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the legendary Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at eight degrees, is a nod to the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at six degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile.
Patrick is used to turns two and three, having raced IndyCars at Milwaukee and IndyCars and stock cars at Indianapolis. Turn one is unfamiliar as Trenton closed in 1980, two years before she was born.
While her experience is minimal at Pocono, she has a strong team behind her, including veteran crew chief Tony Gibson, who won at Pocono in June 1992 with Alan Kulwicki and in July 1998 with Jeff Gordon. He served as car chief during both events.
Gibson is hoping, with his experience and Patrick’s willingness to learn, that they can master the three-turn layout – and score a good finish at Pocono.