Two weeks ago, it was announced Danica Patrick was out of the No. 10 car following the 2017 season, leaving her future in limbo.
With eight races to go of her fifth full-time season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, she’s only focused on bettering herself in NASCAR, not heading back to her old roots of IndyCar.
“I’m not planning on anything, going back to IndyCar,” Patrick said on Friday at Dover International Speedway. “Never say never as I’ve said for many years because I’m getting so old and I know things can change. My life changes in ways that I wouldn’t expect it every couple of years. You just can’t cross off anything on the list completely.”
In 182 career starts, Patrick has seven career top-10 finishes. Her lone such finish of 2017 came at Dover in June, avoiding a pair of late race incidents to round out the top 10.
Patrick, 35, had the best four-race stretch of her career over the summer, placing inside the top 15 in four consecutive races. She kicked the stretch of races at Kentucky Speedway with a 15th-place effort, ending it at Pocono Raceway, also in 15th.
But because of that, and competing with Stewart-Haas Racing for the past five seasons, the question is: Did she receive the same equipment as her SHR teammates?
“Do I think that I’ve had the best car on track with the best engine, the best, best, best, best, best? Probably not,” she said. “Have I had good teams? Absolutely? Have I had good equipment? Absolutely. The challenges are those last little details and having a group of people around you that believe that you can do it and are willing to go beyond the call of duty for the job and go the extra mile.
“My very first engineer in IndyCar uses a reference that comes to mind. He called it the “100 Hand Theory”. If you stick one hand out the window, it doesn’t make a difference. If your stick 100 (hands) it does. All those small, small, small little details that stack up to make something special that goes out on track, yeah, that’s something that always hasn’t been there. I do think that I’ve always had good equipment.”
Patrick’s career defining moment in NASCAR quite possibly may have been her pole winning run for the 2013 Daytona 500. Throughout that event, she competed inside the top 10, beginning the white flag lap in third, before finishing eighth.
In her five other starts for the Great American Race, Patrick has a best qualifying effort of 12th earlier this season.
“The one that will stand out is qualifying on the pole for the Daytona 500 as the media results of that were something like winning the fourth biggest race of the year, even though it’s just for qualifying,” Patrick mentioned. “That one will be the biggest one that will stand out. There have been lots of little races along the way that I have felt have been much more difficult and much more representative of the hard work that I’ve put into the sport. But those don’t stand out because those weren’t wins or top fives.”
About the author
Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.
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