Danica Patrick will be in action at the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway next week, the DRIVE4COPD 300, in Turner Scott Motorsports’ No. 30 Florida Lottery Chevrolet Camaro.
“Turner Scott Motorsports is a great organization and I worked really well with Mike Greci (crew chief) and the whole team in both of the races I did with them last year,” she said in a release. “I know that I’m definitely capable of a win this year working with that group, it just comes down to making it until the end. I have to thank the Florida Lottery for coming on board; they’re giving me the opportunity to run this race and to support education in the State of Florida.”
Patrick also raced for TSM in last year’s Nationwide curtain-raiser. In 60 career Nationwide starts, Patrick has one top-five finish (fourth at Las Vegas in 2011) and seven top-10 finishes.
She’s traditionally run well at Daytona – even leading some laps early – but has yet to deliver a Daytona finish representative of her efforts in the restrictor plate races, either due to mechanical issues or being caught up in the notorious “Big One” accidents.
Of course, her name was in the headlines earlier this week due to some comments made by Richard Petty.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.