Patrick: ‘Make your own way’

Danica Patrick is learning about

NASCAR and won’t be afraid to

deliver a message on the track after an incident last weekend where

she felt she was intentionally wrecked. Patrick, who will run in

tonight’s Nationwide race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was involved

in a wreck last week with James Buescher in the final laps that

ruined a possible top-20 finish for her. Patrick said she felt

Buescher wrecked her, although he called it a racing incident.

“I like being able to make my own destiny with people out

there,” Patrick said. “There are a lot of people in Indy Car that

push you around and do things that you can’t believe. You’re like,

‘Are you trying to flip the car?’ If I didn’t lift, that’s what

would happen “I don’t want to put myself in that position in those

cars a lot of times, so I might come across as a little more of a

pushover, but in this series, you’ve got fenders all the way around

and if someone makes you mad enough, for sure, you can just take

them out. You make your own way. You don’t have to be taken

advantage of because someone is just more crazy than you.” Pole run

Jeff Gordon earned his first pole of the season and extended his

streak of having at least one pole in 18 consecutive seasons.

Gordon starts first after a lap of 191.544 mph on Thursday night.

He’s followed by Carl Edwards (191.455), AJ Allmendinger (190.921),

Mark Martin (190.914) and Paul Menard (190.678). Points leader

Jimmie Johnson qualified 10th with Denny Hamlin, who is second in

the points, qualifying 23rd. Failing to qualify: Joe Nemechek,

Casey Mears, Mike Bliss, Jason Leffler, Kevin Conway and Johnny

Sauter. No points Talladega is two weeks away and already the talk

is about how that race could alter the points. Carl Edwards has a

unique idea for what to do with the Talladega Chase race. “Points

should not be awarded at Talladega,” he said. “In a fair

competition they shouldn’t be because it’s so random. It’s just a

treacherous race. Now, since there are points awarded, it adds a

whole level of stress to the race. “You drive around and if you’re

doing really well in the points, every lap your heart is pounding

and you’re just trying to predict any wrecks that might happen and

the best way to avoid them. I guess in a guy’s position like

myself, the reasons that I don’t like it when I’m running well in

the points are the same reasons that I look forward to it now.”

Oops Tony Stewart had to make a detour because of construction on

the way to the track that slowed him up in arriving. He made it to

the track shortly before Cup practice began Thursday. Pit stops Ty

Dillon, grandson of Richard Childress, plans to run the full ARCA

schedule next year and possibly run in a few Camping World Truck

races. … Thirty-five drivers from 18 states, Mexico and Puerto

Rico will participate in Drive for Diversity combine Sunday through

Tuesday at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford.