The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

February 23, 2013

Patrick not fazed by taking lead

DAYTONA, Fla. —  Illinois native Danica Patrick will do something today that no woman has ever done in the history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Patrick will lead a field of 43 cars – 42 men and herself – to the green flag for today’s 55th Annual Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway.

Does she feel any extra pressure with her historical accomplishment?

“I understand that there will be more hope out there, and there will be a lot of people that will be excited, and anxious to see what happens,” said Patrick, of Roscoe, Ill. “But, I put plenty of pressure on myself, and I want to go out there, and I want to win the race. I want to run strong all day. I want to do all of those things for myself. I don’t think anyone can make me feel it anymore.”

Patrick compared the situation to that of the Indianapolis 500 in the 2005, when she, as a rookie, became the first female to lead laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She started fourth that day and finished fourth.

“Everybody was watching me to see what happened in the race and then to have it go down in an exciting fashion and come close to winning it — it blows up even bigger then because so many people are watching,” she said. “I understand that can happen. It’s going to be a big challenge, no doubt. There are a lot of really good drivers that know what they are doing.

“I just need to go out there and I need to just hold my own. I’m thinking about more what I have to do, not what’s going to happen. It doesn’t do me any good to think about what’s going to happen.”

While Patrick won the pole position last Sunday for the Great American Race, she isn’t one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl of stock car racing today.

Kevin Harvick, winner of both the Sprint Unlimited last weekend and one of the two Budweiser Duels on Thursday, is one of the three favorites according to Daytona Beach News-Journal along with Kyle Busch, who won the second duel, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“We like to be lame duck underdog,” said Harvick, referring to his impending switch from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas after the 2013 season. “You know, it’s one of those deals where you want to win. We’ve been fortunate to win the first two races of Speedweeks. We just got to keep a level head on our shoulder, not get too high over what we’ve done, just do the same things that we’ve done. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

“I think we definitely have the car and the team to be in contention to do that.”

A new team next year isn’t the only change for Harvick. During this past offseason, his wife, DeLana Harvick, had the couple’s first child, a son, Keelan Paul Harvick.

“It’s added a new balance to my life where I can still come to the racetrack and I feel like I’m more relaxed and more focused, which is good for me,” Kevin said. “I don’t get as wound up on things when they happen, whether it’s in the car or outside of the car.

“When you’ve had a bad day, you’re frustrated, you’re right to the point where you can say something stupid, you go back to the motorhome and you see that smiling face – it lets you get mind off of things.”

Busch, who was second in Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race, believes his win in the second Budweiser Duel on Thursday will benefit his run this afternoon.

“This is certainly a huge confidence boost for our team, you know, being able to set the momentum in the right direction at the start of the season,” he said. “I appreciate Dave Rogers (crew chief), all of the guys on this Joe Gibbs Racing team and everybody back at the shop working hard this winter building these cars, getting these things going and bringing some fast Toyota Camrys down to Daytona.”

Harvick and Busch will started third and fourth respectively in today’s race, while Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 winner, will start back in the 19th spot after finishing 10th in the first Budweiser Duel on Thursday.

Right in front of Earnhardt Jr., in the starting lineup for today’s Daytona 500 will be Casey Mears in the GEICO Ford Fusion, starting 17th.

Mears, who is associated with Danville agent Doug Barnette, has been one of the fastest 20 cars all week in Daytona and he was running as high as second for most of the first Budweiser Duel on Thursday.

“It’s been a real consistent week for our team and we’re going to have a fast car for the Daytona 500,” Mears said. “We started our day off with great news for the folks at GEICO that they’re on-board fulltime for 2013 and 2014, and there’s not much of a better way to start off the season.

“I’m so appreciative of their commitment and the commitment of our team owner, Bob Germain, and it makes me proud to be associated with these guys. I’m really happy for all of the guys on this GEICO team, who have worked so hard in the off-season – it’s great to see them rewarded for their efforts.”

Today’s race is set for 1:15 p.m (EASTERN) start, weather permitting as there is a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast. Last year’s Daytona 500 was the first one in 54 years to be postponed from Sunday to Monday.

Matt Kenseth, who has moved from Roush Fenway Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing this season, is the defending champion.

Fox Sports will provide television coverage of today’s race, while WRHK-FM 94.9 will provide the radio coverage.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - CN0729 - Dustbowl photo 2 Repeat performance Championship Sunday was in full swing at the 42nd Annual Dustbowl at David S. Palmer Arena. In the men’s division it was defending champions Leek & Sons against the Hickory Beavers. Leek & Sons made it back to back championships with a 29-point victo

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0729 - Brickyard photo Gordon kisses 'The Bricks' for 5th time INDIANAPOLIS — The common gift for a 20th anniversary is either china or platinum.But for Jeff Gordon on Sunday, he was more interested in the PPG Trophy made of gold, sterling silver and alloy aluminum and the native of Pittsboro, Ind., wasn’t going

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old friends meet again in city tourney DANVILLE — Gene Gourley and Bryan Stine have a lot of history on the tennis court. The two of them, who have been playing each other at the Danville Tennis Center for over 20 years, renewed their rivalry again on Sunday during the Greater Danville Ar

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Junior Dustbowl photo Free throws decide junior Dustbowl title DANVILLE — In the boys’s Division it was DV Stars vs. Squad for the Championship with the Squad coming back from an early 16-point deficit to beat DV Stars 59-55 in overtime. Squads Parker Lee made one of two free throws with 18 seconds left in regul

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keys leads College Girls to Dustbowl title The girls division championship between County Girls and College Girls was a close battle between two fine teams. The College Girls never trailed in the second half and squeaked out a victory over the County Girls 32-29.After a timeout was called by

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Big Ten Media mug Big Ten unveils new look CHICAGO — Welcome to the new look Big Ten.The Big Ten Conference held its 43rd annual Football Media Days on Monday at the Hilton Chicago and in the first day of the two day event, a lot of different topics were discussed, and a few more concepts fo

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danville splits series with Quincy QUINCY — Former Danville High standout Chase Thurston had a season-best performance for the Danville Dans on Sunday.Thurston tossed six shutout innings to pick up his second win in a row as the Dans defeated the Quincy Gems 3-1 in a Prospect League W

    July 29, 2014

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.WEDNESDAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.THURSDAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.TODAYMajor League Ba

    July 29, 2014

  • Prospect League Glance COLLEGIATE BASEBALLProspect League GlanceOverall StandingsEast Division W L GBx-Chillicothe Paints 35 17 —Butler Blue Sox 34 19 1.5West Virginia Miners 34 19 1.5Richmond RiverRats 19 32 15.5Lorain County Ironmen 19 34 16.5Champion City Kings 19 34 16

    July 29, 2014

  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing [Duplicate] Harvick sets the pace at Indy INDIANAPOLIS — Growing up in Bakersfield, Calif., IndyCar driver Rick Mears was the childhood hero for Kevin Harvick.Mears is one of three men to have won four Indianapolis 500s and he has won a career-best six poles for the “Greatest Spectacle in Ra

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

E-edition
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014


Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'