Danica Patrick has a busy Chicagoland weekend both on track and off with family and friends. (Getty Images)
JOLIET, Ill. -- Danica Patrick will do double-duty this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, which she considers her home track.
Patrick will run both Saturday's Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race as well as Sunday's Sprint Cup Geico 400 at the Illinois track not far from her family home in Roscoe, Ill.
"It's good to be close to home," she said Friday morning. "There's quite a few people coming out to the track. I have family members coming from Canada. So, there's going to be a few people here."
Patrick always enjoys coming to the Chicago area, although her favorite football team's loss Thursday night to the Green Bay Packers did put a damper on her homecoming weekend.
"I just love Chicago," she said. "I love being in the city. I don't have a lot of happy feelings from last night's football game, but other than that it's good to be in Chicago.”
Patrick admits racing in front of so many family members and friends does present a challenge, particularly on a weekend like this when she'll be driving in 700 miles of competition.
“I think when you have people that are coming to the track, they are coming to support you of course but they are coming to see you, too," she said. "You want to make time for them for making the effort of support you. In my situation, which is trying to create realistic expectations, low expectations for the people coming to the track, basically you are not going to see me until after race."
She added that she doesn't want to get their hopes up so they "think they are going to spend an hour hanging out with me knocking back beers before the race. That's just not how it goes. So, I feel like we let them know how it's going to go."
Patrick expects her experience at Chicagoland earlier this year in a Nationwide race will help her effort in the JR Motorsports Chevrolet on Saturday. However, the Sprint Cup race is a different story.
“Yeah, I think it does a little bit," she said of July's race at the track. "It definitely wasn't that long ago as I was flipping through my notebook. I feel like this year I had to write down what I felt at each track because they are all so similar, to remember what the feeling was. It came back pretty quick. I know it's going to be different in the Cup car for sure. Everything is more difficult in the Cup car."