TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Danica Patrick knows the importance of having the right equipment and aiming for the openings, however slender.
Works in NASCAR and IndyCar, and it's not a bad strategy for hockey either.
Patrick scored on her first try during a "Shoot the Puck" promotion at intermission of Tuesday night's first-round playoff game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild.
Accessories do matter.
"I was wearing heels when I arrived to the Blackhawks game," Patrick said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, where she qualified fourth for the Nationwide Series race. "At the last second I intelligently grabbed a pair of flats so I'm glad I did that.
"I didn't really understand what I was going to have to do out there. When I realized I was going to be like really trying to score and hit the puck into the goal I thought, you know what, I better give myself the best chance possible. I put those flats on and tried a couple of shots in the back just on concrete floor. They gave me some advice on how to hit it and luckily that very first one went in."
It was the first Blackhawks game at United Center for Patrick, a native of Roscoe, Ill., about 90 minutes from Chicago. She said she attended one for a promotional appearance in St. Louis.
Besides the sensible shoes, Patrick was wearing a No. 10 Blackhawks jersey with her name on the back.
That first attempt went through one of three slots in a board placed before the net. Her next three went wide left, wide right and left again.
Patrick is hoping for more consistency in Sunday's Aaron's 499.
It's the first restrictor plate race since she became the first woman to win a pole and lead green-flag laps at the Daytona 500. She says that eighth-place finish might have hiked expectations for Talladega but that winning on the big speedways requires "a whole lot of luck."