2013 Party in the Poconos 400: Danica Patrick ready for difficult Pocono track

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Having never raced at Pocono Raceway, Danica Patrick will be challenged this weekend by the uniqueness of the triangular-shaped track.

Shaped liked a triangle and featuring three distinct corners, Pocono Raceway is unlike any other track in NASCAR.

This is the challenge that awaits Danica Patrick this weekend as she prepares for Sunday's Party in the Poconos 400. And, before a schedule test here last week, it is a track where she had never turned a lap previously.

"It's a good thing we came last week and tested, that's for sure," Patrick said. "It will just kind of leave it up to race runs tomorrow, which is not a bad thing when you're coming to a track for the first time."

Adding to the difficulty is persistent rain that canceled all on-track activity Friday, including two scheduled practice sessions that would have helped Patrick feel more comfortable on the track dubbed the "Tricky Triangle." Those rounds of practice have been rescheduled for Saturday, assuming it doesn't rain, with forecasters calling for scattered showers in the morning.

Because of the rainout, qualifying was also canceled, and the starting lineup was set by owners points. Patrick will now start 30th in the 43-car field.

One advantage Patrick does have is leaning on the experience of her teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Both drivers have won races at Pocono and are familiar with the nuances of the 2.5-mile track.

"I definitely have good resources with my teammates and am talking with my crew chief (Tony Gibson) about what to expect and what we need to be looking for and what tends to happen in the race here," Patrick said. "So, I'll be asking those questions."

But because every driver has their style and preferences on how they want their car to handle, absorbing knowledge from teammates can only go so far, and it's why Patrick knows there is no substitute for practice.

"I think that it's very hard for someone to say 'well, you need to really carry a lot of speed,'" Patrick said. "What does that mean? I have to get out on the track and feel what it means and then have a very specific question that I need answered. And everybody drives differently, so it's not like someone can just tell you how to drive the track.

"I find that I have a lot better results through questions once I've actually done something and had a taste of what it is I'm doing. It's very difficult to come to a place that you've never seen and ask the right questions."

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