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

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IJune 3, 2014

Danica Patrick walks through the garage area after practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race, Saturday, May 31, 2014, at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The roller-coaster ride that is Danica Patrick's 2014 season continued in Dover with yet another finish just outside of the top 20.

Just two races removed from her career-best finish at Kansas, Patrick now has two consecutive runs where she has finished off the lead lap. Starting 28th, the No. 10 car was unable to find clean air and get up near the front, keeping Patrick well outside of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Patrick struggled through her fourth career start at the Monster Mile but still came away with her best result at the track. Despite finishing four laps down and being penalized for speeding in the pits, Patrick grabbed a 23rd-place finish and now heads to yet another track where she has never earned a top-20 result.

Her driving on the track hasn't been perfect, but she'll look to turn that around at Pocono. Here's a look at her ranking and latest news ahead of the Pocono 400.

2014 Sprint Cup Standings
Pos.DriverPointsWinsTop 5Top 10
1Matt Kenseth4630510
2Jeff Gordon461159
3Carl Edwards438137
4Jimmie Johnson436258
5Dale Earnhardt Jr.419168
6Joey Logano414267
7Kyle Busch411136
8Brad Keselowski404156
9Denny Hamlin379134
10Kyle Larson377025
28Danica Patrick239001
Danica Patrick 2014 Results
FedEx 400Dover International Speedway2823
Coca-Cola 600Charlotte Motor Speedway439
5-Hour Energy 400Kansas Speedway97
Aaron's 499Talladega Superspeedway722
Toyota Owners 400Richmond International Raceway3534
Bojangles' Southern 500Darlington Raceway3322
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

Latest News

The bubble has once again burst for Patrick. And, unlike a driver like Jimmie Johnson who just keeps heading to tracks he dominates, the 32-year-old hasn't had success at nearly any of the upcoming tracks.

But Patrick believes the poor finish was much of her own doing, as she referenced the penalty on Lap 322, via Steven Cole Smith of Motorsport.com:

It’d be interesting to see where we would have finished had we not had that penalty. It didn’t kill us, but it’d be interesting to see. We were pretty rough at the beginning of the race, but we got it better in the later going. Actually we’re running really good laps. We’d just lost a few laps by that point and couldn’t get them back. But we battled through and did OK. It’s our best finish here, and I think we’re getting better.

After her seventh-place result at Kansas, and a decent showing at the Sprint Showdown, she had Jeff Gluck of USA Today believing she might have a win coming soon. Since that point, Patrick has failed to finish inside the top 20 and hasn't moved up any in the points standings.

Needless to say, those expectations still look a bit premature.

But that hasn't stopped team co-owner and driver Tony Stewart from praising the sophomore racer. The three-time NASCAR champion provides his thoughts on Patrick's career thus far, per Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com:

I’m pretty proud of her. I think it’s just time. It’s like I’ve been trying to preach to everybody all along, you just have to give her time to learn it. Everybody that runs these cars – it’s all different times – there’s going to be a point where it just clicks and things start working.

... To not have any more experience than she has in these kind of cars, she’s been fighting an uphill battle all the way to begin with because she’s not had the time that everyone else has had. She just had so much attention to begin with that – she hasn’t had that time to not be in the spotlight and learn like everyone else has.

Though she's never finished inside the top 20 at the track, the No. 10 car experienced more success in her last race at the Tricky Triangle than in her previous race.

Here's a look at her career results at Pocono, courtesy of DriverAverages.com:

Danica Patrick Pocono Results
DateStartFinishLaps LedDriver RatingStatus
June 9, 20133029058.1Running
Aug. 4, 20133435052.2Accident

Without a finish better than 29th and a mixed record at Pocono, Patrick will need to channel some of her driving from previous runs at super speedways to find more success. Unfortunately, Pocono is much different from Daytona or Talladega and is much tougher to tame.

If she can keep a clean car on the track and qualify somewhere near the front, Patrick could very well get back on track with a top-15 finish. But with no previous success and recent struggles, her fans will need to wait a while before seeing her find the top of the pack again.

Predicted finish: 22nd

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