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

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Danica Patrick: Latest News and 2014 Sprint Cup Ranking Ahead of Brickyard
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

During the long NASCAR season, breaks are a necessity for every driver. Danica Patrick is certainly one of those after an up-and-down start to the year.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has captured two top-10 results this season but also added yet another finish outside of the top 20 at New Hampshire prior to the break. It's time to start stepping it up now with just seven races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins.

While the focus will clearly be on turning her season around this weekend, Patrick was able to spend time off the track with boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The couple enjoyed the ESPYs during the week off, as per NASCAR:

Now, the Sprint Cup couple heads to Indianapolis with the hope for more success. With Patrick and Stenhouse sitting at 27th and 28th, respectively, in the points standings, they will need a good showing at the Brickyard.

Here's a look at the latest news and standings for Patrick ahead of the pivotal race.

2014 Sprint Cup Chase Grid
Pos. Driver Points Wins Top 5 Top 10
1 Brad Keselowski 634 3 9 10
2 Jimmie Johnson 598 3 6 12
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 658 2 9 13
4 Carl Edwards 574 2 4 8
5 Joey Logano 551 2 6 9
6 Kevin Harvick 528 2 5 8
7 Jeff Gordon 670 1 6 13
8 Kyle Busch 567 1 5 8
9 Denny Hamlin 530 1 4 7
10 Aric Almirola 473 1 2 4
11 Kurt Busch 440 1 4 4
12 Matt Kenseth 621 0 7 12
13 Ryan Newman 573 0 2 7
14 Clint Bowyer 548 0 2 8
15 Paul Menard 541 0 3 9
16 Kyle Larson 524 0 4 8
27 Danica Patrick 380 0 0 2


Danica Patrick 2014 Results
Race Track Start Finish
Camping World RV Sales 301 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 29 22
Coke Zero 400 Daytona International Speedway 29 8
Quaker State 400 Kentucky Speedway 10 21
Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sonoma Raceway 11 18
Quicken Loans 400 Michigan International Speedway 27 17
Pocono 400 Pocono Raceway 16 37
FedEx 400 Dover International Speedway 28 23
Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway 4 39
5-Hour Energy 400 Kansas Speedway 9 7
Aaron's 499 Talladega Superspeedway 7 22
Toyota Owners 400 Richmond International Raceway 35 34
Bojangles' Southern 500 Darlington Raceway 33 22
Duck Commander 500 Texas Motor Speedway 24 27
STP 500 Martinsville Speedway 10 32
Auto Club 400 Auto Club Speedway 27 14
Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway 36 18
Kobalt 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 22 21
The Profit on CNBC 500 Phoenix International Raceway 33 36
Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway 27 40


Latest News

Following her second top-10 finish and the third of her young career, Patrick returned to earth at Loudon.

The 32-year-old climbed up a few spots from her starting position of 29th, but 22nd isn't helping her much in the rankings. Patrick spoke about her struggles at New Hampshire, as per USA Today:

We were just too tight late in the race. We were pretty much between 18th and 23rd all day and ended up 22nd. It's not the best day, but we've had lots worse, too. I'd like to thank the GoDaddy crew.

I think it will be nice to get the off week and get to Indianapolis in a couple of weeks and see what we've got.

The No. 10 car was once again able to avoid any major accidents, but simply couldn't find its way to the front. Patrick seemed relatively positive following a disappointing race, but the finishes outside of the top 20 are racking up.

While she still has a lot of room to grow in NASCAR, Brant James of ESPNW.com notes how she might be improving:

With two top-10s, Patrick is 27th in driver points -- one slot ahead of 2013 Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and two behind teammate Kurt Busch, who has a win this season. She has improved her average start from 30.1 to 21.6 this year and her average finish more modestly from 26.1 to 24.2, and is four off her 2013 total of eight lead-lap finishes. 

Where will Patrick finish at the Brickyard?

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The time is now to put the past behind her and continue that improvement. Not only did she fall a lap down at New Hampshire, but Patrick narrowly missed out on a top-20 finish after taking a gamble to get her that far up the leaderboard.

Moving forward, the SHR driver now has to get serious if she plans to make the Chase. That potential surge needs to start this weekend at the Brickyard, a track in which Patrick hasn't enjoyed great success during her NASCAR career.

Despite having an average finish of 8.7 during seven career starts, Patrick finished 30th last season in the Sprint Cup race. Here's a look at her career results, including a Nationwide start, at Indianapolis:

Danica Patrick Indianapolis Results
Date Start Finish Laps Led Driver Rating Status
July 28, 2013 33 30 0 48.5 Running
July 28, 2012* 20 35 0 61.9 Accident

DriverAverages.com (*Nationwide race)

With poor results thus far and struggles at New Hampshire still fresh, despite the break, it's hard to see Patrick turning the season around at Indy. Though she finished third once in IndyCar at the track, she hasn't mastered the historic course in a stock car.

Hopes of a top-20 finish might come to fruition at the Brickyard, but it seems like a safe bet to say she won't quite crack the mark. The turnaround might have to start next weekend.

Predicted Finish: 26th

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