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. Jamin (USF2000), Cooper (PWC GTS) win first two races of weekend at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 31, 2015, 6:39 PM EDT

    Photo: Tony DiZinno Photo: Tony DiZinno

    Jamin, Cooper emerge victorious to kick off the weekend at Mid-Ohio.

  2. Nasr: Sauber must remain patient for updates

    Jul 31, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    Nasr calls on the team to make it through a rough patch ahead of the next raft of updates in Belgium.

  3. Dixon fastest on Friday at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 31, 2015, 4:35 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    The Mid-Ohio dominator tops Friday practice in 2015.

  4. Verstappen joins sim racing team to complement F1 duties

    Jul 31, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26:  Max Verstappen of Scuderia Toro Rosso and The Netherlands during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Verstappen joins Team Redline’s sim racing roster in a bid to keep sharp when not on the track.

  5. Friday Mid-Ohio news and notes: Walker fallout, Honda update, an extra Sonoma car?

    Jul 31, 2015, 2:57 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    Some news and notes from the paddock at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

  6. Formula E team names revealed for season two; Trulli yet to confirm line-up

    Jul 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Nextev TCRs German driver Nelson Piquet JR (C) drives during the final race of the 2015 FIA Formula E London ePrix championship at Battersea Park in London, England, on June 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON        (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    We round up all of the latest news and developments in Formula E ahead of pre-season testing next month.

  7. Hakkinen: Vettel a danger to Mercedes in title fight

    Jul 31, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    With victory in Hungary, Vettel closed the gap at the top to 42 points – but can he catch Lewis Hamilton and challenge for a fifth world title?

  8. Bourdais quickest in opening practice at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 31, 2015, 12:07 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    First blood to Bourdais in practice at Mid-Ohio ahead of Power and Newgarden.

  9. Hinchcliffe undergoes final surgery, now “can’t wait to be strapping back in”

    Jul 31, 2015, 10:24 AM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    Hinchcliffe’s recovery continues following his accident in practice for the Indy 500 back in May.

  10. Gutierrez working hard to get back on F1 grid in 2016 as Haas speculation continues

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    MONTMELO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 24:  Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico and Ferrari looks on in the garage during a team filming day at Circuit de Catalunya on February 24, 2015 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Gutierrez claims his work in a reserve role at Ferrari is helping to open up some new opportunities for 2016.

  11. With 2016 plans undetermined, Newgarden focused on finishing 2015 strong

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT

    NewgyTORwin Getty Images

    Josef Newgarden’s future will become a talking point at some stage, but it appears it will be after the season.

  12. Tickets for German GP at Hockenheim to go on sale

    Jul 30, 2015, 5:11 PM EDT

    Mercedes-AMG's German driver and race winner Nico Rosberg (C) celebrates next to second placed Williams' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (L) and Mercedes-AMG's British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) after the German Formula One Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring racing circuit in Hockenheim, southern Germany, on July 20, 2014.     AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE        (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Discounted tickets set to go on sale this Friday in a bid to improve attendance figures.

  13. Exploring what’s next for Derrick Walker as he announces he’s leaving IndyCar

    Jul 30, 2015, 4:48 PM EDT

    Photo: © INDYCAR Photo: © INDYCAR

    Derrick Walker on the prowl for whatever’s next in his long racing career.

  14. Power refusing to give up in IndyCar title defense

    Jul 30, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    Despite running fifth in the standings with three races to go, Power hasn’t given up on retaining the no. 1 for 2016.

  15. Drivers unfazed by longer F1 calendar in 2016

    Jul 30, 2015, 2:22 PM EDT

    xxxx during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 23, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    The 2016 F1 season is set to swell to a record 21 races.

  16. Ericsson pleased with first ten races at Sauber, but regrets missed opportunities

    Jul 30, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26:  Marcus Ericsson of Sweden and Sauber F1 drives ahead of Felipe Nasr of Brazil and Sauber F1 during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ericsson reflects on his first half-season with Sauber that has brought his first points in F1, but also presented some missed opportunities.

  17. MRTI: Seven races on tap for Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000 in critical weekend

    Jul 30, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    MazdaRoadToIndy

    With seven races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend, it’s an important one for the entire Mazda Road to Indy.