April 18th, 2015
Danica Patrick might not be turning in the flashy finishes her Stewart-Haas Racing teammates have done with wins and top-5s, but she has been steadily improving each race since the green flag at Daytona. Comparing her results to one season ago you can see that improvement, especially over the course of the last three races.
After a rocky opening two races, she has finished 21st at Las Vegas, 18th at Bristol, and 14th this past weekend at Fontana. One year ago she opened with a surprising top-10 (8th) at Daytona then went to the bottom at Phoenix, finishing 39th. While she improved last season in the same stretch, she has seen a 10 or more position improvement at all three tracks.
“Our finishes have steadily improved the last three weeks, which has given the team a good boost. We had two good runs at Martinsville last year, so I feel good heading into this week. Tony Gibson (crew chief) has had a lot of success there and knows how to set up a car for Martinsville. It’s a tough place, very tight with a lot of beating and banging, but hopefully we can stay out of trouble and have a good run. We’re looking forward to it,” commented Patrick.
Coming into Martinsville, a paperclip shaped short track, the momentum is certain on Patrick’s side. Last season she shocked many in the NASCAR world by placing 12th at the tricky track.
“Having never been at Martinsville before, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that it was going to be a little bit crazy. I think you take what the car gives you. Tony Gibson (crew chief) has a really good track record there. He’s a great crew chief. And my car was pretty good all day. People talk about the race result but a lot of the time forget that we spun early and were two laps down at one point in time. So, I feel like that’s almost one of the things I’m most proud of – coming back from two laps down to being on the lead lap and then grabbing a 12th place at the end,” recalled Patrick.
The adventure begins Friday when the opening round of practice for the STP 500 gets underway, starting at noon EST and fans can catch the action on FOX Sports 1.