NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams travel to Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway this week following just the second off weekend since the 2016 season began at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. After several subpar finishes, the break couldn’t have come at a better time for Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team.
Patrick finished outside of the top-20 in the three races leading up to the off weekend. She ended up 21st at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. An accident relegated her to a 32nd-place finish when the series visited Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month. And, two weeks ago, Patrick finished 21st at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Rested and refreshed after a weekend off, Patrick and the team head to Sonoma, one of two road courses on the Sprint Cup schedule. She has 10 races under her belt at the track dating back to 2005. However, seven of those starts 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.
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 on Sunday.
Patrick’s top Sprint Cup result at the track is an 18th-place finish she scored in 2014. Last year, her hopes of earning another top-20 effort at the track were dashed when late-race contact forced Patrick off course and left her with a 24th-place finish.
At Sonoma this weekend, Patrick is hoping to run a smooth and clean race, remain on course and get back to running in the top-20 with the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team.