Danica Patrick made her first laps in an ARCA Racing Series stock car during a rain-shortened test session at Daytona International Speedway on Friday afternoon. Patrick, one of 26 drivers who posted a time during the 35-minute, single-car run session, was 12th quickest on the charts with a time of 51.095sec (176.142mph) around the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
"It's definitely by far the biggest track that I have been on in a stock car since I've only ever been on a mile before," Patrick said. "It was a big difference. The car moves around quite a bit. The car was definitely getting some action in the rear over the bumps. It was getting a little bit loose but I kept my foot in it and tried not chasing it too much with the steering."
While it was only one run, Patrick was happy to finally get on the 31-degree high banks. "I was glad to get out there," Patrick said of Friday's session. "It would have been nice to do a few runs and actually make a change or two (on the car) and feel things out. I'm definitely glad to have gotten that run. We will go from here. I'm happy with that and we're ready to build on that.
"I felt most disoriented with how the heck am I suppose to get my stuff on because I can't get into the car with all that stuff on," Patrick added. "I've got to buckle my belts and I can't do it with my helmet on. So I get in the car and I've got to tuck my hair down the back of my suit and I can't do it because I'm strapped in. I'm just awfully confused. So I decided that I needed to put everything on but my helmet and then get in the car. It sounds silly but it's logistics and logistics that I'm not used to."
A trio of cars fielded by long-time ARCA Racing Series team Venturini Motorsports comprised the top three positions in Friday's test session, led by full-time series competitor Mikey Kile (49.804sec/180.708mph).
More than 50 drivers were on hand for the test, which continues today, including a record number of female entries. Among them, Braun Racing's Milka Duno, the first Hispanic woman to test an ARCA stock car, as well as Indian former F1 hopeful Narain Karthikeyan.
Saturday's testing will feature single-car runs during the morning session and the first drafting session of the weekend during the afternoon session.