Danica Patrick: Latest News and 2014 Sprint Cup Standings Ahead of Richmond

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer ISeptember 2, 2014

HAMPTON, GA - AUGUST 29:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Jeff Curry/Getty Images

Sunday night was a career one in Atlanta for Danica Patrick, but it might not mean much for the season if she can't pull out a victory at Richmond.

After never reaching the top 20 at the track, Patrick started 27th and raced her way near the top of the leaderboard. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver eclipsed her career-best result with a sixth-place finish in the night race.

Though the story of the night early on was Tony Stewart returning to the track and Kasey Kahne earning a crucial win, Patrick showed potential on the track. She moved her way up to the top and was the best driver on the night for her team.

Unfortunately, that might all be for naught if she doesn't visit Victory Lane in Richmond. Still sitting at 28th in the standings behind boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., both are in need of a win to make the Chase.

That will be a laborious task for Patrick as she finished 34th on the track back in April. As the Sprint Cup series heads to Richmond, here's a look at the latest news, results and standings for Patrick.

2014 Sprint Cup Chase Grid
RKDRIVERPOINTSWINSTOP 5TOP 10
1Jeff Gordon8723816
2Dale Earnhardt Jr.85131116
3Joey Logano79131014
4Brad Keselowski78231012
5Jimmie Johnson7663815
6Carl Edwards7552611
7Kevin Harvick7482712
8Kasey Kahne7081310
9Kyle Busch657169
10Denny Hamlin6361611
11Kurt Busch614166
12Aric Almirola594125
13AJ Allmendinger590124
14Matt Kenseth79401016
15Ryan Newman747029
16Greg Biffle7280310
28Danica Patrick500003
NASCAR.com
Danica Patrick 2014 Results
RaceTrackStartFinish
Oral-B USA 500Atlanta Motor Speedway276
Irwin Tools Night RaceBristol Motor Speedway2427
Pure Michigan 400Michigan International Speedway1418
Cheez-It 355Watkins Glen International4321
GoBowling.com 400Pocono Raceway1030
Brickyard 400Indianapolis Motor Speedway1442
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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While the last top 10 for Patrick might have been considered a fluke by some, there's no questioning the latest result.

The SHR driver merely remained on the track while several contenders wrecked during July's rain-shortened Coke Zero 400. But on a track where she had never enjoyed success, Patrick was fourth on the final restart and finished sixth in Atlanta.

Patrick spoke about her night following the race, per USA Today:

It was a long night. That race felt like it was 700 miles. Sometimes when you're running well they feel like that because you're hoping it stays there and keeps going well and you keep improving and you don't lose it. And there were definitely a couple of times later in the race that we fell back. The middle of the race the car was very good. We took a little step back but then it came back at the end. [Crew chief Tony] Gibson just reset everything to where we were when we were running well.

The reference to Gibson and her crew was an important one. During the final pit stop, Patrick had one of the quickest times of anyone on the track to remain near the top of the leaderboard.

Following the memorable finish, Patrick dedicated the result to her team, via USA Today:

"I'm just so happy for the team," Patrick said. "We've really had pretty fast cars for quite a while now and not really great finishes to show for it. So this is for everybody, for Go Daddy."

It was a career best for Patrick, but she still fell just short of having the top result for a female driver. ESPN Stats & Info notes where the sixth-place finish puts Patrick in a historical sense:

After a huge night in Atlanta, Patrick will need to better her success at Richmond in order to make the Chase for the first time in her career.

The Richmond results thus far for Patrick don't look encouraging, but she might be able to finish out strong at the track. Here's a look at Patrick's career statistics at Richmond:

Danica Patrick Richmond Results
DateFinishStartLaps LedDriver Rating
April 26, 20143435036.5
Sept. 7, 20133036039.1
April 27, 20132930042.6
DriverAverages.com

Still inside the top 30 in points, a win would secure a spot into NASCAR's postseason for Patrick. While that may seem like a tall task, she could join Kahne, Aric Almirola and A.J. Allmendinger as surprises in the Chase.

Finishing four laps down in her last run at Richmond, she certainly has a chance of improving that result. But without a win during her career, a run at the Chase looks like a long shot for the SHR driver.

Predicted finish: 17th

 

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