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Weekends being unkind to Danica Patrick

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Mar. 22, 2013

The 2013 season started with a bang for Danica Patrick – she started first at the Daytona 500 and finished eighth.

Unfortunately, it’s been all downhill since on both ends of the race weekend.

In the past three races, Patrick’s best start was 37th at Las Vegas and best finish was 28th at Bristol. She’ll start 40th in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

“I mean every weekend you find there is good and there is bad to it. You can’t let it get you down and you can’t be mad,” she said.

“I know that I have a lot to learn and I know that as a group we have a lot to learn together to figure out where the car is best for me so we can be closer more of the weekend, but we will get it. I’m not discouraged or afraid at this point for anything.”

Patrick said she has been hampered by poor qualifying efforts and not being able to progress on the car’s handling as each weekend unfolds.

“I think that we just need to strike a good balance when it comes to qualifying and the race,” she said.

“Qualifying is the first step. I have been loose every single time in qualifying. That puts you in the back and you are already starting off down in the race.”

Sonoma vice president dies: John Cardinale, vice president of media relations for Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer. Cardinale was 47 and is survived by his wife, Andrea, and two daughters.

A memorial fund has been set up on behalf of John’s family. Donations may be sent to the John Cardinale Memorial Fund, care of Sonoma Raceway, 29355 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476.

Biffle, Keselowski change engines: Greg Biffle had just completed his first lap of practice Friday morning when the engine on his No. 16 Ford blew. Biffle, who qualified 11th, will have to start Sunday’s Cup race from the rear of the field.

Joining him from the back will be reigning series champion Brad Keselowski, who changed engines in his No. 2 Ford following Friday’s practice.

Auto Fair begins April 4: The Food Lion Auto Fair will open April 4 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and feature nearly 50 car club displays and a surplus of automotive parts and memorabilia for sale or trade.

There also will be a collector car auction and more than 1,500 collectible vehicles will be available for sale in the car corral that will ring the speedway.

Daily tickets are $10 for adults and free for ages 13 and younger. For more information, call 800-455-FANS or visit charlottemotorspeedway.com.

Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
More racing news, blogs, photos and more at www.ThatsRacin.com.

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