DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Danica Patrick took the next step in her stock car racing education yesterday, staying out of trouble and learning as much as she could in her first NASCAR Nationwide series practice at Daytona International Speedway.
"She just soaks it up, man," crew chief Tony Eury, Jr., said. "She just asks question after question, and we just try to give her the answers."
Patrick finished 26th on the speed chart yesterday. Eury said practice speeds aren't particularly important at Daytona because they don't indicate how fast the car will be in the race.
"We kept the car in one piece, I ran out there with some big guys, so that was good," Patrick said in a television interview. "I played it pretty safe."
After finishing sixth in the Daytona ARCA race on Saturday, Patrick is preparing to make her Nationwide race debut Saturday.
"I think it's a little too soon, personally," Jeff Gordon said. "But I probably would have made the same decision if I was in her position. And you've got to get that experience."
A few drivers took to Twitter to poke fun at the media and fan attention Patrick is receiving.
Scott Speed posted a note on his feed saying that the media seems to consider Patrick the best driver since Dale Earnhardt, Sr., and is "also related to Jesus."
Regan Smith said on his Twitter feed, "Maybe ESPN could cover Danica on ESPN2 and the other 50 plus cars on ESPN Classic."29.20358 -81.03941 Danica Patrick took the next step in her stock car racing education Wednesday, staying out of trouble and learning as much as she could in her first NASCAR Nationwide series practice at Daytona International Speedway.