JOLIET, Ill. — Danica Patrick is back in the Chicago area and looking forward to another Sprint Cup race at what is essentially her home track.
“It’s good to be close to home. There’s quite a few people coming out to the track. I have family members coming from Canada,” she said Friday. “So, there’s going to be a few people here. I just love Chicago. I love being in the city. I don’t have a lot of happy feelings from last night’s football game, but other than that it’s good to be in Chicago.”
Patrick grew up in Roscoe, about 116 miles from Chicagoland Speedway — hence the disappointment with the Bears’ 23-10 loss to Green Bay on Thursday night. This will be Patrick’s sixth Cup start this year in the No. 10 Chevrolet. She hasn’t finished higher than 29th.
She’s in 11th place in the Nationwide Series standings.
Patrick has raced nine times at Chicagoland — six times on the IndyCar Series. She finished 10th in a Nationwide race at the track in June 2011 and took 14th on that circuit at Chicagoland in July.
“I know it’s going to be different in the Cup car for sure. Everything is more difficult in the Cup car,” she said. “I think the weather will help. Six or so weeks ago, whenever we were here it was very hot. I think the cool weather will hopefully help with the grip and make things a little bit easier, a little less slippery and greasy. When I say that I guess I’m thinking of somewhere like Atlanta where it just gets really slippery and you’re kind of fighting for grip.”
Patrick says although she has people in from out of the country for the race, that won’t be too much of a distraction.
“My mom’s side of the family is like right across the border from Minnesota. They saddled up and headed on down a few days ago,” she said. “I think when you have people that are coming to the track, they are coming to support you of course but they are coming to see you too. You want to make time for them for making the effort. .. In my situation, which is trying to create realistic expectations, low expectations for the people coming to the track, basically you are not going to see me until after race. Something like that, so they don’t get their hope up and think they are going to spend an hour hanging out with me knocking back beers before the race. That’s just not how it goes.”