Skip to content

Instead of significant improvement, 2014 starting off the way 2013 ended for Danica Patrick

Mar 2, 2014, 7:26 PM EDT

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images Getty Images

Danica Patrick was supposed to have a much better season in 2014, her sophomore campaign on the Sprint Cup circuit.

But after the first two races, 2014 is starting to look a lot like 2013 for Patrick, unfortunately.

Patrick struggled to a 36th-place finish in Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

While it was a slight improvement from her 40th-place showing (after being involved in a multi-car wreck) in the season-opening Daytona 500 last Sunday, it’s obviously not the kind of start Patrick, crew chief Tony Gibson and Stewart Haas Racing were likely hoping for.

Patrick, who finished 27th in the 2013 final season standings, is now 39th in the Sprint Cup rankings after the first two races, already 77 points behind points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“It’s tough,” Patrick said. “That’s two weeks in a row we’ve had good cars and nothing to show for it. The car was good all day, we just needed track position. I’m starting to think if we didn’t have bad luck, we’d have no luck at all. The GoDaddy guys built me a great car for the second week in a row. I hate it for them, and I hate it for GoDaddy. This is obviously an important race for them (GoDaddy is headquartered in Phoenix). Hopefully, things turn around in Las Vegas.”

Even though Patrick has lived in suburban Phoenix for the last few years, PIR has not been very welcoming to her.

Patrick now has four Sprint Cup starts at the flat one-mile track under her belt, the last three being finishes of 30th or worse.

She finished 17th in her first Cup race there in fall 2012, followed by 39th in spring 2013 (due to a crash), 33rd last fall 2013 (10 laps behind race winner Kevin Harvick) and now 36th (six laps behind the winning Harvick).

She was on pace for a possible top-10 showing in the fall 2012 race, but slammed into the wall on the final lap after being hit from behind by Jeff Burton.

And then as Patrick limped her damaged car down the frontstretch, she was hit from behind by Paul Menard after a big wreck as the checkered flag fell.

On a restart on Lap 171 in Sunday’s race, Patrick was headed into Turn 1 when she tangled with Justin Allgaier, causing her car to spin around against the outside retaining wall.

Both drivers were able to continue after quick damage repairs on pit road, but as she pulled away from her pit stall Patrick told Gibson over the team radio that she smelled smoke inside the car.

About a dozen laps later, Patrick went for a single-car spin and flat-spotted her left rear tire, requiring another visit to pit road.

Granted, we’re only two races into the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule, but Patrick isn’t the only driver having early season struggles. Kurt Busch left Phoenix 30th in the Sprint Cup standings, while Martin Truex Jr. (who started the Daytona 500 on the outside pole) left in 35th place.

Maybe the third race of the season in Las Vegas next Sunday will be the charm for Patrick.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. GRC Lites’ class of 2015 look to stand out

    May 30, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Photo: Tony DiZinno Photo: Tony DiZinno

    We caught up with a few of the GRC Lites drivers before their season kicks off.

  2. Mallya joins call for more autocratic rule of Formula 1

    May 30, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice Getty Images

    Force India team owner claims F1 has become too democratic in letting some of the teams have a say.

  3. Grosjean annoyed by Monaco crash accusations

    May 29, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    Frenchman hopes to bounce back in Canada next weekend after finishing outside of the points in Monaco.

  4. Power wins Verizon P1 Award in Detroit with new track record

    May 29, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Will Power and Helio Castroneves complete the front row for first of two IndyCar races in Detroit.

  5. Sainz shares video of near-miss with Ericsson from Monaco

    May 29, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives during qualifying for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Sainz went on to finish the race in tenth place, but it all very nearly ended far earlier in Monaco last Sunday.

  6. Formula E: Garcia replaces Pic for Moscow ePrix

    May 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    A Formula E China Racing Antonio Garcia powers his car during the first pratice session in Punta del Este, Uruguay on December 13, 2014. Uruguay will host the third race of the inaugural Formula-E electric car race championship on December 13.  AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULA        (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    GT racer returns after making his Formula E debut in Uruguay at the end of 2014.

  7. Big weekend for Brembo on Belle Isle

    May 29, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT

    Photo: Brembo Photo: Brembo

    Brembo busy with IndyCar, TUDOR and World Challenge this weekend.

  8. Boullier: Monaco points just the beginning for McLaren

    May 29, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    The team racing director refuses to get too excited about Jenson Button’s eighth-place finish in Monaco, saying it is just the start of something far bigger.

  9. Briatore: Alonso has a better future with McLaren

    May 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Flavio Briatore, his wife Elisabetta Gregoraci and son Falco attend the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Fernando Alonso’s manager confident the Spaniard was right to leave Ferrari and join McLaren for 2015.

  10. Ecclestone willing to do “whatever is needed” to revive Indian GP

    May 29, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of India - Race Getty Images

    Ecclestone has given the race promoters two months to make a decision on whether to revive the Indian Grand Prix or not.

  11. Defending Red Bull GRC champion Joni Wiman adjusts to “target on his back”

    May 29, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Rallycross photos © QNIGAN.COM 2014

    What’s next for Joni Wiman, the defending Red Bull Global Rallycross champion?

  12. Ricciardo relishing return to site of first F1 victory

    May 29, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 08: Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and Australia wins the Canadian F1 Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 8, 2014 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images,) Getty Images

    Ricciardo announced himself on F1’s big stage in Canada last year with the first of three victories in 2014.

  13. NHRA: 3-time Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon making most of career resurgence

    May 29, 2015, 12:35 AM EDT

    3-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon. (Photo courtesy NHRA) 3-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Larry Dixon is making up for lost time – in VERY fast way, that is – as in the neighborhood of 320-plus mph and less than four seconds.

  14. ARCA: From welder to race car driver, Sarah Cornett-Ching continues her building prowess

    May 28, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy ARCA) (Photo courtesy ARCA)

    Sarah Cornett-Ching is opening a lot of eyes in the ARCA Series this season.

  15. Red Bull GRC entry lists, event schedule for Ft. Lauderdale opener

    May 28, 2015, 8:59 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Here’s the field for this year’s Red Bull GRC season opener in Ft. Lauderdale.

  16. Surprises, struggles: NHRA at one-third mark of ’15 season

    May 28, 2015, 6:49 PM EDT

    nhra logo

    With the completion of the Kansas Nationals this past Sunday, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has reached the one-third point of the 2015 season.