Danica Returns To Make More History
Danica Patrick has big shoes to fill – her own.
During the season-opening Daytona 500, she unfurled a long list of superlatives: first female pole winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; best finish by a female (eighth) in the Daytona 500; first NSCS top-10 finish by a female since Janet Guthrie in 1978; became the 13th driver to lead laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.
Patrick already holds the record for best finish by a female in NASCAR national series competition (a fourth at Las Vegas in 2011 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series). Now she looks to break the record for best finish by a female in NASCAR premier series competition, currently held by Sara Christian (fifth).
She returns to Daytona 500 with a good bit more experience, running her first full season and competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
Her races since the season opener, however, haven’t exactly been as successful. Since the Daytona 500, she has notched two top-15 finishes – a 12th at Martinsville and a 13th at Michigan. She has kept out of trouble, registering only two DNFs – accidents at Phoenix and Talladega.
Currently 27th in points, Daytona provides Patrick an opportunity to vault back into the top 25 (she’s currently 16 points behind Denny Hamlin).
In her last six races at Daytona, in both Cup and the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Patrick has scored a Driver Rating over 100 three times.