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Danica Patrick: Latest News and 2014 Sprint Cup Ranking Ahead of Darlington

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 04:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com/Get Found Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IApril 8, 2014

It's still early in the season, but envisioning Danica Patrick in the Chase for the Sprint Cup is becoming increasingly more difficult.   

Following another poor result at Martinsville during the STP 500, reaching the front of the pack was never in reach for Patrick as she finished outside of the top 20 for the fourth time this season through six races.

The No. 10 car finished 27th at Texas Motor Speedway after falling two laps behind, just one spot behind boyfriend and fellow sophomore driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Despite her best efforts to regain control of her Stewart-Haas machine, Patrick was unable to get back on the lead lap throughout the race.

Any sort of good fortune taken away from both Bristol and Fontana is now clearly lost. Patrick now has consecutive finishes outside the top 20 and heads to Darlington, a track where she has never been successful at the Sprint Cup level.

Here's a look at where Patrick sits in the standings and the latest news for the SHR driver.

2014 Sprint Cup Standings
Pos.DriverCarPointsWinsTop 5Top 10
1Jeff Gordon24259035
2Matt Kenseth20255015
3Carl Edwards99247124
4Joey Logano22235144
5Kyle Busch18231123
6Dale Earnhardt Jr.88228144
7Jimmie Johnson48228024
8Brad Keselowski2218133
9Brian Vickers55205013
10Paul Menard27203014
29Danica Patrick10121000
NASCAR.com
Danica Patrick 2014 Results
RaceTrackStartFinish
Duck Commander 500Texas Motor Speedway2427
STP 500Martinsville Speedway1032
Auto Club 400Auto Club Speedway2714
Food City 500Bristol Motor Speedway3618
Kobalt 400Las Vegas Motor Speedway2221
The Profit on CNBC 500Phoenix International Raceway3336
Daytona 500Daytona International Speedway2740
NASCAR.com

 

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Following a great week for Stewart-Haas, in which Kurt Busch pulled off the second win for the team, Patrick actually finished second on the team with her 27th-place result.

The only driver with a decent finish was team co-owner Tony Stewart, who snuck into the top 10, as SHR's official Twitter account points out:

Perhaps no driver has dropped off as quickly as Patrick this season, as Jeff Owens of Sporting News notes:

All that momentum from decent finishes at Bristol and California has vanished. Patrick struggled to a 27th-place finish and nearly got into a wreck with boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. That they were racing for position two laps down is not a good sign for either driver.

Along with facing the disappointment of another poor result in Texas, Patrick also might have upset her friends joining her after the race.

The 32-year-old put out an interesting tweet following the race, which states she planned to do a slightly different dance than the Texas two-step:

Patrick also left with a feeling of disenchantment off the track in Texas as well. Before the race got underway, she went to AT&T Stadium to take in the NCAA tournament Final Four and was rooting for the Wisconsin Badgers, who were ousted by eventual runner-up Kentucky.

A photo from the game was shared on Patrick's official Twitter account:

Luckily for Patrick, NASCAR has officially left Texas. Unfortunately, the Sprint Cup circuit now heads to Darlington, another track where the driver has never experienced success.

Two races at any oval is a small sample size to make a judgement for a driver, but Patrick's results in South Carolina prove that she hasn't been able to put up improved results from other tracks.

Here's a look at Patrick's results for the track:

Danica Patrick Darlington Results
DateStartFinishLaps Led
May 11, 201340280
May 12, 201238310
DriverAverages.com

Without a top-20 finish in her last two races, don't expect one to come while trying to tame the "Lady in Black." Patrick's team will continue to get in a groove, but not having any sort of momentum heading into Darlington will make it difficult to get back inside the top 20.

Predicted Finish: 27th

 

Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.

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