Clarksville Tn – With the NASCAR Sprint Cup series coming to an end this weekend at Homestead, Fla., one story that is being overlooked for the most part is that Danica Patrick is becoming a better Sprint Cup driver than most people thought she would … or at least quicker.
Patrick, who ran a limited 10 race schedule in the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing in a collaborative agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing, finished in a season-best 17th-place at Phoenix International Raceway this past Sunday and could have finished even higher if not for being spun out by Jeff Burton on lap 312.
But still, it was her best finish of her limited schedule is the Sprint Cup Series and marked the eighth time in her 10 races that she had finished better than where she qualified – including in each of her final five races.
Now I’m not saying she going to be in line for a spot in the chase next year, but I can see that Patrick and her race team have picked up a lot of momentum — and along with early positive chemistry and results with new crew chief Tony Gibson the sky could be the limit for the Roscoe, Ill. native — as they get ready for a full-time series schedule in 2013.
There are still questions about her racing.
One is her temper which has gotten her into some scrapes with other drivers this season, but with what transpired this past weekend between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer it can happen to seasoned drivers too.
Second is Patrick’s sometime difficulty in handing the much larger and heavier NASCAR vehicles, which has led to some contact with over drivers with disastrous results and early finishes for the rookie driver.
But Patrick has gained experience in each lap she has run this season and you can see a noticeable improvement in her being able to control the car and avoiding the kind of contact that has knocked her out of races early this year.
With all of that being said, I think Danica will finish around 20th in the point standings in 2013 and maybe a chance at the top 15 finish – but it’s the 2014 season I would watch out for.
Patrick has great sponsors with deep pockets – a must if you’re going to compete — a solid car owner in Tony Stewart, a crew chief that she is clicking with and experience running full schedule.
My prediction for 2014 … Danica will finish in the top 10 in the point standings and be in the Chase for the championship.
About Hank Bonecutter
Hank is a forty year broadcast veteran, talk show host, writer, producer, and stand-up comedian. Hank is the President of Bonehead Promotions and Clarksville Sports Network.com, and is a contributing author/journalist for Clarksville Online. Hank is an advertising consultant, and social media adviser/manager for exclusive customers.
Web Site: http://clarksvillesportsnetwork.com/
SectionsRoll Call with Sarge
TopicsClarksville Tennessee, Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick, Godaddy, Jeff Gordon, NASCAR, Phoenix International Raceway, Sprint Cup, Stewart Haas Racing, Tony Gibson
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