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Thread: Who says Danica can'

  1. #1
    Vman$01
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    Who says Danica can't swap paint with the Big Boys?

    Patrick makes history with fourth-place run

    By: David Caraviello,
    NASCAR.COM

    As Mark Martin climbed out of his winning race car in Victory Lane on Saturday afternoon, another, smaller celebration was unfolding along pit road at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Danica Patrick exchanged jubilant hugs and high fives with other drivers and members of her crew, and then turned and waved at the crowd that had witnessed her breakthrough finish in the Nationwide Series.


    Pairing fuel strategy with an improving ability to race side-by-side in stock cars, Patrick rallied from two laps down to finish fourth, her best result since the IndyCar regular began her part-time foray into NASCAR last year. Patrick got one lap back via a wave-around, made up another thanks to the free pass (Lucky Dog), and had enough fuel to run to the end as several other contenders were forced to stop on pit road.

    "To be honest, I think we're making some real progress," said Patrick, whose previous best Nationwide finish was 14th, at Daytona two weeks ago. "We make progress every weekend, but it's just a matter of, are you on the lead lap and in position to take advantage by the end of the race?"
    Saturday, she was. In the process, she recorded the best finish by a female driver ever in a NASCAR national series, topping the fifth-place result turned in by Sara Christian at Heidelburg Raceway in Pittsburgh in 1949.

    "I think it's huge," said Patrick's crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. "I think it's going to help her out tremendously. I think Daytona was a really big step for her. Last week at Phoenix, we know short-track racing is kind of one of her issues. The mile and-a-halfs, I told her by the end of [last] year she was doing great at that, and it was just a matter of putting a whole race weekend together."

    Patrick still had her issues at Las Vegas, including a mediocre qualifying effort and a spin on the opening day of Nationwide practice on Thursday. But her improvement as a stock-car racer was evident Saturday, particularly in the way she spent several patient laps dueling with Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne. Patrick used some lapped traffic to get by on the low side, then picked off Nationwide regular Brian Scott for the 10th position, and the off-cycle pit stops she had made earlier in the event carried her from there.

    "It's nice to race with those guys," Patrick said. "They teach me. They really teach me how I need to run. [Bayne] has been having lots of good experience with Sprint Cup and with Nationwide, and he's been doing really well. He taught me how to prevent somebody from getting by too easily. He was right there tight on my right side, and I'm telling you, man, I was loose as all getup next to him. But that's how you learn how to race."
    Patrick's No. 7 team entered the weekend harboring secret hopes of a top-10 finish, based on the lap times she turned at Las Vegas last season and the progress she made on intermediate tracks toward the end of the year. "I didn't want to say that to the media, because then you'd expect me to finish in the top 10," she said. They'll gladly take the top-five instead.

    "It's very easy for her to run in the top 15 in this series," Eury said, "and we thought -- hey, Vegas, we ran really good out there last year, we ought to be able to run top 10. Today we had a ninth-place car and fuel strategy kind of gave us a top five, so it's a bonus."

    Now Patrick has a week to celebrate, and to think about her next start, at a very different kind of track -- half-mile, high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway, a facility at which she'll be competing for the first time.
    "I don't know if it's good to have a top-five going into Bristol," she joked. "But hey, just like any weekend, you'll take a good result. I don't want this to create any sort of false expectations that I'm going to go out and go for a top-five or a top-10 at Bristol. My goal at Bristol is to finish and not be more than 10 laps down, I think, given the size of it. When I tell people that Bristol is my next track, they're like, 'Oh. Oh.' So they're kind of putting me in kind of a scared position."

    Last edited by Vman$01; 03-06-2011 at 10:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    A question - and I'm asking this only because I don't really know much about open-wheel racing:

    Is her weight an unfair advantage?

    I think I read she's very petite; something like 5 ft 2 and 100 pounds.

    Meanwhile, the typical Dude is probably closer to 180 or even more.

    I know that on the street weight matters; if my car is lighter than yours, then - all else being equal - my car is going to beat your car in a drag race.

    How does this play out in racing?

  3. #3
    Vman$01
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    With the new carbon fiber cars they attempt to save 8 lbs here and 17 lbs there. Kevin Harvick probably weighs 170 and Tony Stewart - who the Hell knows? I think on the Indy circuit they are ALL JOCKEYS. They are not taller and heaven forbid if they added a few pounds. The car is so small and claustrophobia to me is the worst thing about it, along with having a plate placed over your legs. This traps you in the car, so bring the vaseline if there is a fire.

    In Vegas (where she finished 4th). the track is almost completely flat and without banking. A little extra weight might help keep the car from heading sideways.

    When it comes to brute horsepower the car really doesn't care once it starts rockin'. Jr. Motorsports builds a fast car and gets colaborations from Hendrick Motorsports. HP is a good thing. Too much throttle can end your day in an instant. She ran good race! Viva le differense! V- Man

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vman$01 View Post
    With the new carbon fiber cars they attempt to save 8 lbs here and 17 lbs there. Kevin Harvick probably weighs 170 and Tony Stewart - who the Hell knows? I think on the Indy circuit they are ALL JOCKEYS. They are not taller and heaven forbid if they added a few pounds. The car is so small and claustrophobia to me is the worst thing about it, along with having a plate placed over your legs. This traps you in the car, so bring the vaseline if there is a fire.

    In Vegas (where she finished 4th). the track is almost completely flat and without banking. A little extra weight might help keep the car from heading sideways.

    When it comes to brute horsepower the car really doesn't care once it starts rockin'. Jr. Motorsports builds a fast car and gets colaborations from Hendrick Motorsports. HP is a good thing. Too much throttle can end your day in an instant. She ran good race! Viva le differense! V- Man
    I drove an open wheel race car once. Barely.

    I literally had trouble working the controls because I'm just too damned big. Anyone taller than six feet and bigger than 200 pounds... forget it.

    Nextel Cup cars are easier. They're really not much different to drive than a worked-up big block 1970 Chevelle or something along those lines. If you've driven a big muscle car you could drive a stock car.

    I'm not saying you could drive it competitively; I am saying you could do a few laps and not look completely foolish (assuming you're a pretty good street car driver with a little bit of track time/training under your belt).

    But F1?

    Forget it!

  5. #5
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I drove an open wheel race car once. Barely.

    I literally had trouble working the controls because I'm just too damned big. Anyone taller than six feet and bigger than 200 pounds... forget it.

    Nextel Cup cars are easier. They're really not much different to drive than a worked-up big block 1970 Chevelle or something along those lines. If you've driven a big muscle car you could drive a stock car.

    I'm not saying you could drive it competitively; I am saying you could do a few laps and not look completely foolish (assuming you're a pretty good street car driver with a little bit of track time/training under your belt).

    But F1?

    Forget it!

    Last I heard Lewis Hamilton was 1.74 mtr/5'8" tall and weighed in at 64 kg/141 lbs. I guess he is probably typical of the F1 jockey genre. Moto GP riders are similarly tiny - Danny Pedrosa probably the smallest at 1.58 mtr/5'2" tall and weighing 51 kg/112.4 lbs. despite their diminutive size the sheer strength and stamina of these guys is phenomenal.

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  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Last I heard Lewis Hamilton was 1.74 mtr/5'8" tall and weighed in at 64 kg/141 lbs. I guess he is probably typical of the F1 jockey genre. Moto GP riders are similarly tiny - Danny Pedrosa probably the smallest at 1.58 mtr/5'2" tall and weighing 51 kg/112.4 lbs. despite their diminutive size the sheer strength and stamina of these guys is phenomenal.

    Ken.
    Yep!

    I've noticed, too, that when it comes to hypersport street bikes only the German and Italian (BMW, Aprilia, etc.) makes have ergos that are tolerable for guys much over six feet.

    I've considered buying a ZX-10 but having ridden the little SOB I know I could only take it for about 30 minutes at a stretch! (And that would be pushing it...)

  7. #7
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vman$01 View Post
    With the new carbon fiber cars they attempt to save 8 lbs here and 17 lbs there. Kevin Harvick probably weighs 170 and Tony Stewart - who the Hell knows? I think on the Indy circuit they are ALL JOCKEYS. They are not taller and heaven forbid if they added a few pounds. The car is so small and claustrophobia to me is the worst thing about it, along with having a plate placed over your legs. This traps you in the car, so bring the vaseline if there is a fire.

    In Vegas (where she finished 4th). the track is almost completely flat and without banking. A little extra weight might help keep the car from heading sideways.

    When it comes to brute horsepower the car really doesn't care once it starts rockin'. Jr. Motorsports builds a fast car and gets colaborations from Hendrick Motorsports. HP is a good thing. Too much throttle can end your day in an instant. She ran good race! Viva le differense! V- Man

    Lack of weight helps in lateral forces on a flat track. The centrepeda; forces don't try to push the car as hard sideways. Now, if there is a good back to the track, then you want more weight to hold the car down. Go fast enough and if the track curves up to a 90 degree wall instead of a wall on the edge of the track, you can literally drive on the side.

    I have to admit, I normally don't care once the race is over but when she's climbing out of the car, it keeps my interest.
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  8. #8
    Vman$01
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    Lack of weight helps in lateral forces on a flat track. The centrepeda; forces don't try to push the car as hard sideways. Now, if there is a good back to the track, then you want more weight to hold the car down. Go fast enough and if the track curves up to a 90 degree wall instead of a wall on the edge of the track, you can literally drive on the side.

    I have to admit, I normally don't care once the race is over but when she's climbing out of the car, it keeps my interest.
    She's 5' 2" is so Hot and cusses like a sailor. If she loses her ride, I'll give her one!


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