Top 20 in five of last six races.
The good fortune for Danica Patrick continued right through the end of summer. Now she is hoping she can make it work for the fall.
She has finished 20th or better in five of the last six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including her current streak of four consecutive top-20 finishes.
And all the while, Patrick has run better at just about every track.
In August at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, she qualified 14th, her best starting position ever at the 2-mile oval. She went on to finish 18th, her third top-20 finish in four starts.
On the last day of August at Atlanta Motor Speedway, she came in having never finished better than 21st in two starts at the 1.54-mile oval. But she raised the eyebrows of some observers when she finished a career-best sixth the race.
Patrick came back in September to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, where she had never qualified or finished better than 30th in three starts. She then qualified 13th and finished 16th to continue her successful ways.
The driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), went to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, where she had never qualified or finished in the top-20 in two starts. She started 18th after qualifying was rained out and the field was set by practice speeds. She then finished 19th to score her third consecutive top-20.
Last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon it was more of the same. She qualified a career-best 18th and was as high as fifth late in the race. She dropped back at the end, but finished 19th – her best career finish at New Hampshire and fourth straight top-20 result.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s AAA 400 and Patrick hopes it will be more of the same. She has never qualified or finished in the top-20 but as the last few weeks have shown, that means very little.
Her only good race at Dover came way back in September 2010 when she drove in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. She started 13th, but led three laps and finished sixth.
She is hoping for more good luck this weekend as she continues to find good results late in her sophomore season.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts about Dover?
“I always like going to Dover. The track is pretty fun. I remember everyone telling me how unique and challenging Dover was prior to my first race. At the time, I didn’t have a whole lot to compare that track to. They said it was like a larger version of Bristol, but I hadn’t raced at Bristol yet, either. It’s nice to have more of a handle on what to expect heading in there now. Dover is fun. It’s fast and it can make for a really long day of racing. I think that’s part of the appeal of it – how demanding it can be. We definitely want to stay out of trouble, which is easier said than done at these types of tracks.”
You have run well the past six weeks. You’ve qualified and raced in the top-20. Talk about that.
“Everyone just works hard and it’s paying off. We actually should have finished better at New Hampshire (19th) but the yellows at the end probably didn’t help. We’re just getting better. Tony Gibson and the GoDaddy guys are giving me really good cars and we just keep finishing better. I haven’t run that well at Dover, but we’ve done better at all the tracks we’ve been to lately, so we’re ready.”
You have a special breast cancer promotion going into October. Talk about that.
“If you go to www.godaddy.com/donate and donate a least $10, you can put the name of a loved one on my pink GoDaddy car at Martinsville. The money goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and I think it’s a good idea to raise awareness, and we’re excited about it.”
How tough is Dover to drive?
“It can be a real challenge. It’s quite quick and when you come off turns two and four, it drops you down like a roller coaster. You just have to have a good setup and make sure everything is working right or it can be a long day. It’s actually a pretty long race so you have to be prepared. But it’s a fun track and I’m looking forward to it.”