Danica Patrick Back to Daytona

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series nears the midpoint of the 2015 season as it returns to where it all started back in February – Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, site of Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola.

After a tumultuous Budweiser Speedweeks in February, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) return to the 2.5-mile superspeedway ready to improve upon their early season performance at the track, much the way Patrick has shown improvement throughout the first half of the Sprint Cup season.

In February, Patrick raced her way into the field for the 57th running of the Daytona 500, but had to start at the rear of the field after crashing her primary racecar in the Budweiser Duel qualifying race. She ran as high as 10th in the “Great American Race” but got mired in traffic in the late stages of the event and finished 21st.

Since Daytona, Patrick has demonstrated marked improvement from her first two seasons in the Sprint Cup ranks. So far this season, she has earned two top-10 finishes, has an average starting position of 22.2, a 20.5 average finish, is ranked 19th in the driver point standings and, according to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, she has made 336 quality passes, has run in the top-15 for 703 laps, or 14.9 percent, and has a driver rating of 66.2. Following the race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway last year, Patrick had one top-10, an average starting position of 21.8, a 25.4 average finish, and was 28th in the standings. She had also made 327 quality passes, ran inside the top-15 for 556 laps, or 11.5 percent, and had a 60.6 driver rating. At this point in the 2013 season, Patrick had scored one top-10 finish, had an average starting position of 32, a 25.8 average finish and was 27th in the driver standings. She’d also completed 288 quality passes, raced inside the top-15 for 392 laps, or 8.1 percent, and had a 54.5 driver rating.

Patrick returns to Daytona with six prior Sprint Cup starts at the superspeedway. She’s earned two top-10 finishes at the track, including an eighth-place finish in last year’s Coke Zero 400. With that experience and the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team behind her, Patrick is ready to try and make good things happen come Sunday night.

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Speedway Digest Staff

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