Skip to content

Danica Patrick keeps expectations in check

Mar 1, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT

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. Hamilton closes out Bahrain GP practice on top

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:02 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Qualifying Getty Images

    The defending world champion edges out Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in FP3 ahead of qualifying later today.

  2. WATCH LIVE: FP3 for the Bahrain GP from 8am ET on Live Extra

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Mercedes and Ferrari continue to exchange blows in Bahrain, but who will get the upper hand ahead of qualifying?

  3. Ricky Taylor, Auberlen on pole for TUDOR at Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

    Photo: IMSA Photo: IMSA

    Ricky Taylor, Bill Auberlen secure pole positions for Round 3 of TUDOR Championship season in Long Beach.

  4. Power, Pagenaud laugh off last year’s Long Beach contact in post-practice press conference

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    A quick flashback to last year's Pagenaud, Power contact. A quick flashback to last year's Pagenaud, Power contact.

    Some good banter between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power occurs during post-practice press conference, as the two laugh off their contact here last year.

  5. GP2: Vandoorne continues pole position streak in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Five in a row for the McLaren junior driver as he starts the 2015 season in style.

  6. Raikkonen and Vettel cautious about challenging Mercedes in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari’s long run pace suggests that Mercedes may not have it all its own way on Sunday.

  7. INDYCAR confirms more aero kit updates coming to Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:41 PM EDT

    KimballRahal AP

    More from INDYCAR has been released regarding aero kit updates.

  8. Button upbeat despite two practice stoppages in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    He may have only completed 17 laps in total on Friday, but Jenson Button remains positive about McLaren’s progress.

  9. Red Bull GRC: Media day series notes

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    GRClogo2

    Red Bull Global Rallycross rolls out a series of announcements for media day, Thursday in Long Beach.

  10. Dixon leads Ganassi 1-2 in Long Beach opening practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT

    Scott Dixon Getty Images

    Scott Dixon on top in opening practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series at Long Beach.

  11. Brake problems hinder Toro Rosso in Bahrain practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Carlos Sainz Jr. AP

    A mixed day for both Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  12. Bottas pleased with practice showing, but thinks there is more time to find in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Practice Getty Images

    Williams usually reserves its pace for Saturday, but Valtteri Bottas bucked the trend in Bahrain on Friday.

  13. Hamilton sure Mercedes will avoid Malaysia issues in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Briton pleased with Mercedes work following practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

  14. Sato looks for a St. Pete encore and/or Long Beach repeat on Sunday

    Apr 17, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Getty Images

    He’s not the race defending champion, but as the most recent Long Beach winner still in the IndyCar field, Takuma Sato is indeed one to watch this weekend.

  15. Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel and Perez under investigation for incidents in Bahrain GP practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    A busy night for the stewards in Bahrain due to two incidents at the end of FP2 on Friday.

  16. Rocky Moran Jr. to replace Huertas in Coyne’s No. 18 for Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Day 3 Getty Images

    Rocky Moran Jr. to make IndyCar debut this weekend with Dale Coyne Racing in a last-minute fill-in role for Carlos Huertas.

  17. Rosberg heads up Mercedes one-two in Bahrain FP2

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT

    Rosberg 174av Getty Images

    Normal service is resumed in FP2 as Mercedes dominates proceedings, but Ferrari proves that it could be in the running for the race win on race day.

  18. Could Long Beach provide the venue for Pagenaud’s first Penske win?

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    PagsStPete AP

    Picking a winner from the Team Penske quartet is always a challenge, but Simon Pagenaud has his best shot yet to break through this weekend.

  19. Max Chilton adjusting to life outside F1, embracing Indy Lights opportunity

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Photo: Carlin Racing Photo: Carlin Racing

    Max Chilton reflects on his new dual role with Carlin in Indy Lights, and a bit on his Nissan LMP1 role as well.