BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Given her history of driving in the IndyCar series, Danica Patrick may have an advantage when she takes the track in today's Nationwide Alliance Truck Parts 250.
Patrick has the experience of driving at speeds upward of 240 miles per hour on the IndyCar Series, and other drivers and analysts on the Nationwide Series have labeled her as a darkhorse going into today's race at Michigan International Speedway, which has produced record speeds during the last two days of testing.
But Patrick differentiates driving an open-wheel car and a stock car.
"In a stock car, it moves around a lot more," Patrick said. "When we did a qualifying run at the end of practice, I was loose going through [turns] 3 and 4. That was my quickest lap of the session.
"But when an Indy car goes, it goes pretty quick."
Patrick is driving strictly on the Nationwide Series until Aug. 25, when she resumes a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule at Bristol Motor Speedway, and is in search of her first win this season on both circuits.
Patrick is 11th in the Nationwide Series standings, with her highest finish coming when she finished eighth at the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway. In three Sprint Cup races, Patrick's highest finish was 30th at the Coca-Cola 600 May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Today: Alliance Truck Parts 250, NASCAR Nationwide Series, 3:30 p.m.
Sunday: Quicken Loans 400, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, noon
Patrick is one of 43 drivers who will qualify at 11 a.m. today for the 3:45 p.m. race. But Patrick also explains that on a repaved track, there's a certain adjustment period.
"You come into it open-minded," said Patrick, who had an average lap time of 188.255 miles per hour during Friday's Nationwide practice. "You have to see what the track gives you and how it's going to chance. But since we ran decent in practice, we're hoping that translates to a good qualifying position and good racing."
During Friday's Sprint Cup practices, Greg Biffle led all drivers with a lap speed of 204.708; Austin Dillon led the Nationwide drivers with an average lap speed of 190.900 on 16 laps, ahead of Joey Logano (189.858) and Elliott Sadler (189.399).
Logano, who won last weekend's Sprint Cup Pocono 400 at Pocono Speedway, said he hit 199.9 at one point in Nationwide practice in his Toyota.
"I think a 200 mile-per-hour average is really cool, something really neat," said Logano, who has won four Nationwide races this season. "I think you'll see a lot of cars qualifying at the 200 miles-per-hour test average, which is going to be really neat. I remember the first time I hit 200 miles an hour at an ARCA test at Kansas, and I thought that was one of the coolest things."
ON THE INDY RADAR: After IZOD IndyCar canceled its scheduled Aug. 19 race in China, IndyCar president Randy Bernard targeted Michigan International Speedway as a potential destination for an IndyCar race -- an idea that MIS president Roger Curtis said he's receptive to.
"If they're interested in coming here, we'll talk," Curtis told the Associated Press. "If they're not, that's cool too."
FAST LANES: The theme of speed continued into the second day at MIS, as Kevin Harvick acknowledged the fast times during practice sessions for the Sprint Cup drivers. But Harvick also explained that track testing caused issues for three of his Chevrolet's four tires.
Harvick said there was blistering on the left side tires after testing on the repaved track.
Friday night, NASCAR informed teams that they will be able to change left-side tires for Sunday's Sprint Cup race.
Goodyear director of race tire sales Greg Stucker said tire blistering was heat-related, though neither Tony Stewart nor Carl Edwards said they had tire issues during practice and testing.
"We haven't had trouble, and hopefully we don't," Edwards said. "We do not need tire issues right now."
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.