What kind of season is Danica Patrick having?
The Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin asked Patrick about a season that has the Stewart-Haas Racing driver 22nd in the Sprint Cup standings after 19 points races.
“Do I think it’s going terrible? No, it’s not going terrible, but it’s not great either,” Patrick said a few days before the 22nd annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With seven races to go before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins, Patrick, in her third full-time season, has only two top-10 finishes in 2015. Those came at the short tracks of Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.
This season has also been Patrick’s first full year with crew chief Daniel Knost. She spent her first two with Tony Gibson, who now works with SHR teammate Kurt Busch. Busch has two wins and is eighth in points, even after missing three races due to suspension.
“At first we went through the hiccups of learning how to communicate well enough to improve the car and not make it worse,” said Patrick, who is in the final year of her SHR contract. “I don’t think our cars are as good as they were at the beginning of the year.”
In the first 10 races of the year, Patrick finished higher than 20th five times, including her top-10 results which came in two of three races, separated by a finish in 16th at Texas Motor Speedway.
Since then, she has finished higher than 20th twice, at Dover International Speedway (15th) and Michigan International Speedway (16th).
“After being in (the series) for a couple of years, great things need to pop up on the radar,” Patrick told the Indy Star.
Patrick needs something great at Indianapolis. While the 2.5-mile track was how many were introduced to her during her days in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Patrick hasn’t had any success there in the Sprint Cup Series. In two Brickyard 400’s, Patrick has failed to finish every lap.
In 2013, she finished two laps down and last year, rear-gear problems ended her day after 114 laps.