Skip to content

Danica Patrick keeps expectations in check

Mar 1, 2013, 9:15 AM EST

Danica Patrick Reuters

Despite a successful Daytona 500, Danica Patrick remains focused on a steady build-up to becoming an everyday contender in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Patrick became the first female to lead “The Great American Race” and was a threat for the win before having to settle for an eighth-place finish. But the Stewart-Haas Racing rookie knows that she still has a lot to learn before she can run in the lead pack on a consistent basis.

“I think that would be unwise to sort of start telling myself that Top 10 is where we need to be every week,” she said last Sunday at Daytona. “I think that’s setting up for failure. The list of drivers in the Cup series is deep. Daytona is a unique track. These tracks are different and unique — a lot about the car. I mean, you have to be smart enough to do the right thing at the right time. But it’s very much about the car.

“I feel like I’m still sticking to ‘Let’s see how these first five races go where we go to a bunch of different kinds of tracks, see where we settle in.’ Then start to establish goals from there on out.”

Patrick certainly made headlines last weekend in the ‘500’ with her great drive. But she must prove that she can remain competitive across the short and intermediate (1.5 to 2-mile) tracks that make up the bulk of the Sprint Cup schedule.

She can get started on that this weekend at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, where she has experience dating back to her IndyCar days. However, the majority of her experience at PIR is in stock cars; she has five career Nationwide Series starts at the “Desert Jewel” (best finish of 10th) and finished 17th in her first Cup run there last fall.

In the meantime, Patrick is sticking with her game plan and also looking to add on the foundation of her efforts in 2012.

“The only thing we can go off of is at the end of last year and running solid inside that Top 20, hopefully get inside that Top 15,” she said.

“That’s really all I can think right now…It might change after five races. It might be better. Who knows? It might be worse. We’re going to kind of pick up where we left off.”

Latest Posts
  1. WEC: Porsche continues to lead the way in Sao Paulo Practice 2

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:31 PM EST

    AUTO-FRA-MOTOR-RACING-ENDURANCE Getty Images

    Mark Webber fastest in second practice for WEC at Interlagos.

  2. WEC: Brendon Hartley leads Porsche 1-2 in Sao Paulo opening practice

    Nov 28, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    The Goodwood Festival of Speed - Day 2 Getty Images

    Porsche 919 Hybrids run 1-2 in the first session at Interlagos.

  3. WEC draws the curtain on 2014 with Brazilian round this weekend

    Nov 28, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    BahrainWECstart Getty Images

    The end of the WEC season occurs this weekend in Brazil.

  4. F1 2014 Review: Stories of the Season

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    We take a look back at some of the biggest stories in Formula 1 this year.

  5. USAC: Christopher Bell wins Turkey Night Grand Prix; Kyle Larson finishes 3rd

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    logo-usac

    Rico Abreu locks up USAC Honda Midget Series title with fifth-place finish in Thanksgiving classic.

  6. F1 2014 Driver Review: Fernando Alonso

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Alonso proved once again in 2014 that he has ability exceeding that of the Ferrari car, but even he couldn’t make up for the shortcomings of the F14 T.

  7. Toro Rosso confirms Carlos Sainz Jr. for 2015 F1 season

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:11 PM EST

    F1 Testing In Abu Dhabi - Day One Getty Images

    Spanish driver to race alongside Max Verstappen in 2015, stepping up to make his F1 debut.

  8. F1 2014 Driver Review: Sebastian Vettel

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice Getty Images

    Red Bull may have been underdogs after winter testing, but few could have predicted Sebastian Vettel’s bid for a fifth world title being as weak as it was.

  9. F1 2014 Driver Review: Valtteri Bottas

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany Getty Images

    After a difficult rookie season, Bottas’ sophomore year in F1 brought far more success, marking the Finn as a possible champion in the future.

  10. Ricciardo expecting good battle with Kvyat next year

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ENG-SILVERSTONE Getty Images

    Kvyat will replace Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year.

  11. Hulkenberg’s Porsche drive a great showcase for modern versatility

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    HulkPorsche2 Getty Images

    Nico Hulkenberg and Porsche: a win for both the WEC and F1 in a rare moment of motorsport unity for the common good.

  12. F1 2014 Driver Review: Daniel Ricciardo

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    What a year it was for Daniel Ricciardo in his first season at Red Bull.

  13. Hamilton: Second F1 title takes career another step forward

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRITAIN-HAMILTON Getty Images

    Talks about a new contract with Mercedes should be brought forwards after title win.

  14. F1 2014 Driver Review: Nico Rosberg

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Austria F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    A worthy title contender, Nico Rosberg enjoyed his most successful season to date in 2014.

  15. F1 2014 Driver Review: Lewis Hamilton

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    2014 saw the Briton become a two-time F1 world champion, winning 11 races.

  16. Raikkonen confident 2015 will hold better things for Ferrari

    Nov 28, 2014, 7:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice Getty Images

    A new regime will come into force at Maranello next season following a disappointing campaign in 2014.

  17. Susie Wolff promoted to test driver at Williams for 2015

    Nov 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Practice Getty Images

    British racer will remain with Williams for 2015 after becoming the first woman to take part in a grand prix weekend session in 22 years over the summer.

  18. Famed NHRA team owner Don Schumacher undergoes cancer surgery

    Nov 27, 2014, 8:46 PM EST

    Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com) Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com)

    NHRA team owner Don Schumacher underwent surgery Wednesday for early-stage skin cancer.

  19. Is the world ready for another Rowdy Busch? Kyle, Samantha hint a baby boy is on the way

    Nov 27, 2014, 8:04 PM EST

    (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    NASCAR star Kyle Busch and wife Samantha dropped a very big hint that their first child may be a boy.

  20. IndyCar’s Graham Rahal, NHRA’s Courtney Force engaged

    Nov 27, 2014, 7:28 PM EST

    (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage) (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)

    IndyCar driver Graham Rahal and NHRA driver Courtney Force announced their engagement Thursday in Venice, Italy.

Video from NASCAR America

Kevin Harvick's well deserved Sprint Cup
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1658)
  2. J. McMurray (1641)
  3. T. Stewart (1594)
  4. A. Dillon (1088)
  5. J. Johnson (1059)