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NASCAR 'drafting' at Daytona is a bit trickier than Indy-car drafting, Patrick learns on Day Two

  Danica Patrick: getting the full-blown superstar marketing treatment by NASCAR and Daytona. But, uh, what happened to that Motorola/BoostMobile sponsorship?    (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Day Two at Daytona went uneventfully for Danica Patrick, who got her first taste of the NASCAR draft, and learned that 'close' isn't close enough in stock car racing.
   "I guess you can run a lot closer than what I thought," Patrick said after posting the 19th quickest speed in Saturday's ARCA 200 drafting sessions for the Feb. 6th race, including one 40-lap run.
   "'Two car lengths' up above from my spotter is like 'on him' for me. That's 'on him:' you are 'on him' in Indy-car."
   But that's not close enough in NASCAR. And she has yet to get a touch of bump-drafting or push-drafting.
  "It was a little bit more challenging to get that last car length, or get 'up on him,'" Patrick said.
   "We even got to the point where they're like 'Give him a little bump down the straight.' I was trying...but I couldn't catch him.
    "It's getting into that mode -- that you need to be right on him to take advantage of the situation and stay with the draft.
   "It's different than driving the cars that I drive. You can run so much closer (in NASCAR stockers), and you can cross-over each other.
    "But you need to run really close...so, like there's no room for error if someone makes a mistake. That's going to be the challenge.
     "But it was a productive day. I learned a lot, and I feel really comfortable in the car."
    Patrick's fast lap in the draft was 181.554 mph.
    Tony Eury Jr., Patrick's crew chief and long-time crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., points out "drafting is not something you learn overnight.
   "She has done really good learning how to stay in a pack, learning what the car does in different aero situations."
    Patrick isn't the only woman testing at Daytona. Alli Owens, on the ARCA pole last year, is also testing, along with Leilani Munter, Milka Duno, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Michelle Theriault, Jill George, Ashley Parlett and Amber and Angela Cope, nieces of 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope.

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