Patrick: ‘I just want to finish’

Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, prepares in the garage area for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2012 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, prepares in the garage area for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2012 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

DARLINGTON, S.C. — After practicing both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup cars Friday at Darlington in preparation for her debut in both series at the 1.366-mile track, Danica Patrick summed up her hopes and expectations for Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 in four words: “I just want to finish.”

“I definitely think getting through the night with a respectable night is what I’m hoping for in the Nationwide car, and as far as the Cup car . . . I just want to finish,” said Patrick, who was the slowest of 47 drivers in the first Cup practice session.

“I just want to finish, which is going to be a challenge, I think.”

Patrick got her baptism — otherwise known as a Darlington stripe — during her first run in the Nationwide car. In the first Cup practice, she hit the wall three more times.

“I’ve hit it four times now,” Patrick said before Happy Hour. “Getting pretty cozy with it. . . . This is not a cookie-cutter track by any means. That’s the challenge.

“I can only imagine that once I finally get a good grip on it, I’m going to be much more confident out there, and maybe the Lady in Black and I will become friends one day.”

Indeed, the relationship improved in the second practice session. With a top speed of 170.851 mph, Patrick was 24th fastest in final practice, improving nearly three miles per hour over her quickest lap in the first session.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.