Patrick looks to build off solid Martinsville run
APR 12, 2013 12:10p ET
For about a month, even she was starting to have doubts.
Patrick's stellar run at Daytona that started with a pole and ended with an eighth-place finish was followed up by a month of misery. She didn't finish better than 26th in the next four races.
And then, at an unlikely track for Patrick to flourish, she had a 12th-place showing at Martinsville last week in the No. 10 Godaddy.com Chevrolet.
That gives her a little extra pep in her boots this weekend as she prepares for Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I think it's a nice reminder sometimes that I can drive a race car," Patrick said of Martinsville, where she started 32nd and was two laps down at one point. "Sometimes you get a little down on yourself. It's those days that help bring it back. It's a nice reminder of what we work hard for and why we need to have a good attitude. Being at Martinsville is the first time we all expected to have a tough weekend and nobody really knew what to expect."
Patrick's finish at Martinsville was even better because she survived several in-race incidents with Brian Vickers. Vickers bumped Patrick into Dale Earnhardt Jr. early in the race and he accused her of blocking him late in the race as the two were batting for position.
Kevin Harvick, who also had problems with Vickers in the closing stretch of the race, spun Vickers after the race. While Patrick hasn't talked to Vickers since Martinsville, she did hear from Harvick.
"I said thanks because it looked like he was giving me a hand there with someone that was a little upset," Patrick said. "He was a little upset with him (Vickers) too I think there were a lot of people upset with Vickers after Martinsville. I don't know. I haven't raced with him very much so I'm getting on with my day."
Patrick's day Friday was preparing for a TMS track she's very familiar with.
She made one of her Sprint Cup starts last year at TMS and finished 24th in the fall race. She's also made four starts in the Nationwide Series at TMS, with a best finish of fourth. Patrick also has an extensive IndyCar Series background at TMS, making eight starts and posting finishes of second (2010) and third (2007).
The TMS experience hasn't helped her so far this weekend and that didn't surprise Patrick. She was 30th on Thursday in the first Cup practice and 32nd in the second practice. Things didn't get much better for her Friday as she was still near the bottom of the speed charts.
"Every car you drive on tracks that you have been on feels different," said Patrick, whose debut with crew chief Tony Gibson came last fall at TMS. "Other than being familiar with how to get to the track and how to get to my bus at the track that is really about it. I almost felt like coming from IndyCar, the tracks that I drove an Indy car on, it was almost more confusing to drive a stock car because the line is different. You find different bumps out there. Sometimes it's nice to come with a clean slate."
And a little momentum doesn't hurt either.
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