In her rookie season in the NASCAR Nationwide series, Danica Patrick will make her first trip to the Monster Mile for the Dover 200 on Sept. 25.


Dover International Speedway will welcome a new but very recognizable face as race weekend kicks off Friday, Sept. 24.

Danica Patrick will make her first trip to the Monster Mile and is set to participate in both the Sunoco 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race at 4:45 p.m. Sept. 14 and the Dover 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25.

Patrick, who is splitting time between IndyCar and stock car racing this year, was selective in what NASCAR tracks she chose to race her JR Motorsports No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, settling on 12 total races.

The decision to select Dover, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. said in an email, was one made based on a few guidelines that didn’t interfere with IndyCar racing.

“Obviously, IndyCar is still the top priority for her right now since she’s running the full season over there,” Eury said. “Dover fell within those guidelines and we added it.”

This is Patrick’s rookie campaign in a stock car, and with the split workload between open- and closed-wheel racing, the expectations aren’t too lofty.

Eury said Patrick’s lack of experience has allowed the GoDaddy.com team to put achievable goals in place and monitor progress.

“At this point, we want to go out there and finish the race at Dover,” he said. “I’m not going to speculate and say, ‘Hey, we need a top 20 finish to make it a good weekend.’ That would be nice but we’re also realistic.

“Finishing the race and bringing the GoDaddy car home in one piece would be a solid weekend for us.”

Patrick doesn’t have much time to prepare for Dover, as she’s returning from a
Sept. 18 IndyCar race in Japan.

Because of that, Eury said it will be a scramble re-familiarizing Patrick with the stock car before she reaches Dover.

The process of getting her ready is just getting Patrick as much time in the car before Dover as possible.

“I know there’s been a lot of talk about her transitioning to stock cars this year, but I think some people overlook how much of a challenge it is,” Eury said. “It really is a night and day difference.”

He added that entering Patrick into the Sunoco 150 should help in how she does in the Nationwide race as well.

Preparations this week are a bit more hectic than normal since the team is preparing for two races, Eury said.

“We’re just going through the motions of getting the cars prepped and set up, so we can get them loaded onto the hauler and to the track as quickly as possible,” he said. “This week we’ve got a little more work to do since we’re running Danica in the Pro Series race on Friday. But I feel that’s something we need to be doing for her.”

Beyond racing, Patrick’s got a busy weekend in Dover, said Gary Camp, Dover International Speedway’s director of communications.

Prior to the Nationwide race, Patrick will be available to fans at the Monster Monument in Victory Plaza for a question-and-answer session presented by AAA and hosted by Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.

Camp said Dover International Speedway hopes to see an increase in fan support due to Patrick’s appearance this weekend, and based on the reaction at other tracks that seems likely.

“We know from other tracks that they’ve seen a lot more people come out to the races with her being there,” he said. “She draws a crowd and is one of the most recognizable figures in motorsports.”

IF YOU GO
WHAT Sunoco 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race
WHEN 4:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24
WHERE Dover International Speedway
COST $6 to $28
MORE INFO Call 800-441-RACE or visit www.doverspeedway.com

IF YOU GO
WHAT Dover 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series
WHEN 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25
WHERE Dover International Speedway
COST $8 to $52
MORE INFO Call 800-441-RACE or visit www.doverspeedway.com

Email Brian Citino at brian.citino@doverpost.com