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. PWC: Acura TLX-GT set for debut at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT

    Photo: RealTime Racing Photo: RealTime Racing

    The Acura TLX-GT will make its debut at Mid-Ohio, later than planned but still on Honda’s home weekend.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: Thursday round-up (VIDEO)

    Jul 31, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT

    Toyota Owners 400 - Practice Getty Images

    More analysis on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new crew chief, Greg Ives, took center stage on Thursday’s NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.

  3. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT

    140731-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Thursday’s NASCAR AMERICA lineup…

  4. Formula E: Malaysia date moves from October to November

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Previews Getty Images

    Malaysian FIA Formula E round moves from October to November to accommodate prime minister’s wishes.

  5. IndyCar: A crucial weekend to commence at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 31, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 At Mid-Ohio - Day 3 Getty Images

    Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud look to make headway on Team Penske teammates, while Chip Ganassi Racing seeks a six-pack of Mid-Ohio wins this weekend.

  6. Hysterical video: How the British envision NASCAR

    Jul 31, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    nascar brits

    Anthony Richardson bills himself as the Bad British Commentator, and it definitely shows through here with his malapropisms and complete lack of understanding of the sport and world of NASCAR.

  7. What might the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule look like?

    Jul 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images Getty Images

    There may not be wholesale changes, based upon what NASCAR chairman Brian France said recently, but next year’s Sprint Cup schedule will look different. Based upon various sources and things we’ve heard and/or read, we’re going to chime in with our ideas and why we think that way.

  8. As many as 4 more drivers can clinch Chase spot at Pocono

    Jul 31, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Chase for the sprint cup logo

    With six qualifying races left, a total of 10 more spots remain to be clinched to fill out the expanded 16-driver playoff field for this year’s 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.

  9. Mark Martin returning to Roush Fenway Racing in unique role

    Jul 31, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT

    (Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Legendary NASCAR driver Mark Martin is returning to Roush Fenway Racing. But don’t expect Martin, 55, to get back behind the wheel any time soon.

  10. Police seek large stolen Earnhardt memorabilia collection

    Jul 31, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

    (Illustration: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images) Getty Images

    If you collect NASCAR memorabilia and someone approaches you in the coming days with a deal that seems too good to be true – especially if it involves merchandise related to either Dale Earnhardt Sr. or Dale Earnhardt Jr. – it probably is.

  11. Report: Ferrari’s Engine and Electrics boss Luca Marmorini leaves team

    Jul 31, 2014, 10:50 AM EDT

    Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari’s head of Engine and Electrics, Luca Marmorini, has left the team ahead of the second half of the season.

  12. Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio highlights extensive motorsports coverage this weekend on NBCSN, NBC

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

    NBCSN

    NBCSN will present live coverage of the IndyCar Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, highlighting more than 30 hours of motorsports coverage across NBC and NBCSN this weekend.

  13. Report: Toyota closing in on new 2015 Camry for Sprint Cup

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT

    (AP Photo/Tom Strattman) AP

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s the case for the new design of the Toyota Camry for the 2015 Sprint Cup season.

  14. IndyCar: Carpenter hopeful for second car in 2015

    Jul 31, 2014, 8:57 AM EDT

    Ed Carpenter AP

    Ed Carpenter says he’d like to expand to two cars, but it remains to be seen if this can actually come to fruition.

  15. Roush Fenway shores up sponsorship for Stenhouse as Zest returns to No. 17

    Jul 30, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

    Pocono 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Personal care brand will serve as primary backer for Stenhouse in multiple 2015 races plus work in a season-long associate role.

  16. NASCAR AMERICA: Wednesday Round-Up Includes Denny Hamlin Interview (VIDEO)

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:38 PM EDT

    DHIMSPenalty AP

    NASCAR AMERICA on Wednesday includes a Denny Hamlin interview, a recap of the Hamlin penalties and Dale Earnhardt Jr. new crew chief news.

  17. Red Bull GRC: Nelson Piquet Jr. goes wakeboarding (VIDEO)

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    PiquetWakeboard

    Nelson Piquet Jr. shows Kristen Kenney how to wakeboard, on the day after Piquet bagged a podium finish in Red Bull Global Rallycross at Charlotte.

  18. WATCH LIVE: Denny Hamlin reacts to Indy penalties on NASCAR AMERICA

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Coming up today: Full coverage of Brickyard penalties against Joe Gibbs Racing, including reaction from driver Denny Hamlin; interview with Eldora Truck Series winner Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.

  19. How will Greg Ives handle the spotlight as Dale Jr.’s crew chief?

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    History 300 - Practice Getty Images

    Next year, Ives will have deal with an amount of fan and media attention that dwarfs anything he’s ever encountered in the sport.

  20. IndyCar: Mid-Ohio Livery Notes

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

    JPMHawk Getty Images

    The livery notes going into this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Toronto.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

Ives, Earnhardt Jr. a good combo?

Featured video

Inside the Hungarian GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. D. Hamlin (1133)
  2. J. McMurray (1123)
  3. A. Almirola (956)
  4. K. Busch (942)
  5. T. Bodine (840)