NASCAR: 5 Reasons Why We'll See Danica Patrick in the Chase in 3 to 5 Years

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NASCAR: 5 Reasons Why We'll See Danica Patrick in the Chase in 3 to 5 Years
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

After two previous part-time seasons, plus a full-time slate in the Nationwide Series and a 10-race dabble in Sprint Cup racing this past season, Danica Patrick makes the jump to a full-time effort in Sprint Cup competition in 2013.

While she finished 10th in her first full Nationwide season in 2012, it's pretty clear that Patrick is still in a learning mode that may take another one or two seasons as she becomes further immersed in Cup racing.

But Patrick is not making the jump to Sprint Cup competition for giggles and grins. She wants to be a serious racer and competitor—and she certainly has the ability to do that given enough time and a lot more laps and races behind the wheel of a Cup car.

Still, we feel Patrick can—and will—make the Chase for the Sprint Cup within the next three to five seasons. We're not saying she'll win the championship, though, but she should be one of the 12 Chase contenders at some point.

Here's five reasons that back up our assessment. Even if she needs a full five years before she makes the Chase, so be it. One way or another, Patrick will make the Chase. It's just a matter of time.

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