Keys to Danica’s first ARCA test
With the ARCA test at Daytona International Speedway starting
Friday (weather permitting), I am sure there will be a lot of eyes
watching to see how IRL IndyCar Series superstar Danica Patrick
Personally, I hope she does well. I, for one, am glad she is
committing to racing in NASCAR.
Going the ARCA route for her is the best way to get started.
Let’s face it, the attention that she will bring to the ARCA
series will be huge — It definitely will be a shot in the arm for
them. There are a lot of famous names that have come from the ARCA
series that found a home in NASCAR. Danica will be taking a
similar path that Ryan Newman followed when he drove for Roger
Penske. First start in ARCA, then move to the Nationwide series and
then eventually move up to a Cup car.
I will say this up front. I will not be one bit surprised if
she is one of the fastest, if not the fastest driver down there at
the test. With all the experience Tony Eury Jr. has as crew chief
and with the support of Hendrick Motorsports, you can bet she will
have a fast car. I would even go as far to say that I think
it’s even possible she could win the ARCA race in Daytona.
With her experience on the faster racetracks and with Hendrick
support, I think it is a great pairing.
Patrick is fearless when it comes to speed. That’s also
why I like the fact she is starting in ARCA, because you can work
on those cars and make it more comfortable for the driver.
Look, she is a race car driver. What do race car drivers like
to do? Go fast. She wants to go fast. So if there is a chance for
her to be the fastest in this ARCA test, well there is no reason to
expect she won’t go for it. Obviously her goal is to show
that she deserves to be here and can handle a stock car. So if she
can do it, well by all means do it.
One of the main things Danica and Tony Eury Jr. will be
working on is driver comfort and communication. She has the benefit
of this being a test to have and see the onboard telemetry. That
will be somewhat similar to what she is used to in open-wheel
racing. Her team needs to take full advantage of that so when they
make a change on the car, not only will she feel it, but also see
it and understand the change.
What will help Eury Jr. the best is great feedback from her.
That’s where the communication part comes in. She has to tell
him what she felt the car doing after any changes they make. This
will also pay dividends when they get back Daytona in February and
the track has changed. Remember, when they come back in February,
there won’t be the luxury of the computer, so her feedback
will be critical.
The bottom line to me is comfort and communication this
weekend for this test. Again, with the Hendrick support, I have no
doubt the speed will be there to go with it.