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

LOUDON, NH - JULY 11:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IJuly 22, 2014

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.DriverPointsWinsTop 5Top 10
1Brad Keselowski6343910
2Jimmie Johnson5983612
3Dale Earnhardt Jr.6582913
4Carl Edwards574248
5Joey Logano551269
6Kevin Harvick528258
7Jeff Gordon6701613
8Kyle Busch567158
9Denny Hamlin530147
10Aric Almirola473124
11Kurt Busch440144
12Matt Kenseth6210712
13Ryan Newman573027
14Clint Bowyer548028
15Paul Menard541039
16Kyle Larson524048
27Danica Patrick380002
NASCAR.com
Danica Patrick 2014 Results
RaceTrackStartFinish
Camping World RV Sales 301New Hampshire Motor Speedway2922
Coke Zero 400Daytona International Speedway298
Quaker State 400Kentucky Speedway1021
Toyota/Save Mart 350Sonoma Raceway1118
Quicken Loans 400Michigan International Speedway2717
Pocono 400Pocono Raceway1637
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
NASCAR.com

 

Latest News

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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. 

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
DateStartFinishLaps LedDriver RatingStatus
July 28, 20133330048.5Running
July 28, 2012*2035061.9Accident
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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