Great expectations for Danica

TALLADEGA, AL - MAY 03: Danica Patrick, driver of the #34 AccuDoc Solutions/GoDaddy Chevrolet, exits her car after qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, AL – MAY 03: Danica Patrick, driver of the #34 AccuDoc Solutions/GoDaddy Chevrolet, exits her car after qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, Ala.– Should expectations for Danica Patrick be ramped up at Talladega, given that she’s in same chassis she drove to the pole for the Daytona 500?

The answer, according to Patrick, is a simple yes and no.

“I suppose it’s fair to say that there should be a little spike in expectations, but you also have to take into consideration on these big speedways that there is a whole lot of luck that comes into it,” Patrick said Friday morning during an interview session behind her transporter.

“Everything has got to be clean. The (pit) stops have to be good. You have to stay in the pack–no issues, not getting caught up in an accident. From what I remember last year, at Talladega it was more of a pack race than Daytona even… Obviously, this is a wider track than Daytona, so when we start getting four-wide, thats when stuff starts to get a little exciting.

“Well just have to hope that we’re in the right place at the right time.”

With rain in the forecast for Saturday, Sprint Cup drivers vied to post fast laps in Friday’s opening practice, given that the field will line up according to speed in first practice in case Saturday morning’s time trials are washed out.

Carl Edwards led the session at 199.675 mph and would start on the pole in the event of a qualifying rainout. Patrick was 23rd quickest in the opening practice at 197.439 mph.

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