Danica Patrick: 5 Reasons She Can Win a Stock-Car Race in 2012
The 2012 season has not been too kind to Danica Patrick.
Between bad luck and mechanical problems, Danica has not been able to build any momentum and live up to expectations.
Danica's best finish is 12th at Las Vegas in her first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
It is way too early to count Danica out of winning a race this season. She has all the tools needed for getting into victory lane.
Here are five reasons why Danica Patrick can win a stock-car race in 2012.
5. More Focus on NASCAR
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Unlike her previous two seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Danica Patrick will run the full season.
Danica will get consistent laps on a weekly basis in a stock car and not have to constantly transition from a NASCAR stock car to an Indycar.
This will allow Danica to develop her skills in a stock car and not having to change between types of race cars.
Also, during the last two seasons, she was constantly asked whether she could choose NASCAR over IndyCar. Having to think about making such a major career choice can weigh heavy on a driver's mind and be a big distraction.
Now that Danica chose NASCAR, she can put her full focus and effort into winning a stock-car race.
4. Danica Is Driving Equipment Capable of Winning
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Danica has the opportunity to drive for one of the strongest teams in the Nationwide Series in JR Motorsports.
There is no doubt that team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will give her the best money can buy to get her into victory lane.
Remember, JR Motorsports gets support from the team Earnhardt Jr. drives for, Hendrick Motorsports.
Danica will never have to worry about showing up to a race with mediocre equipment. These "Hendrick" cars give Danica the best possible chance to run up front and win.
3. Sprint Cup Series Drivers Are Running Less Nationwide Series Races
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There is always the constant battle between Nationwide Series drivers going against the Sprint Cup Series drivers who get into Nationwide races.
2012 so far has showed us that the Nationwide Series regulars are taking back the division.
Nationwide Series drivers have shut out the Sprint Cup Series drivers from victory lane in every race until this past weekend in Fontana.
This season, Sprint Cup drivers who used to run a lot of Nationwide races are taking a step back to focus on the Sprint Cup Series.
This gives the Nationwide regulars the chance to get into victory lane at a higher rate than ever.
We can already see that this is happening, and we'll see if Danica is one of those Nationwide regulars who can get the job done.
2. Danica Has Some of the Best Mentors in NASCAR
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Danica is very fortunate to have the support from two of the top drivers in NASCAR.
She has car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. to go to for support and advise. His experience being under the pressure to succeed is something Danica will be able to learn from.
Her other mentor that has helped tremendously is her Sprint Cup Series car owner Tony Stewart.
We've seen Stewart work with Danica a lot on the superspeedways. We've seen them working the draft together both in the Sprint Cup and the Nationwide Series. Now we want Danica show the ability to move through a pack to get to the lead.
Stewart also has the experience of transitioning from IndyCars to NASCAR stock cars. He knows the learning curve and what it takes to make the transition.
Danica has a great wealth of knowledge to go to which will make her get better and better at every track.
1. Danica Is Getting More Laps and Experience Every Week
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Danica has gotten a lot better than when she made her debut in 2010.
The major reason is the fact that she is getting more laps and experience on every track. She runs better and better on tracks she revisits.
Both her and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. are developing better setups for their cars that get better after she runs laps and develops a feel for each track.
While she may have some rough weeks in the first half of the season, I expect Danica to run very well in the second half of the season, getting back to these tracks for a second time in the same season.
Look out for Danica to get into victory lane in the second half of the season.