Danica Patrick ‘The Heat is On’

As the summer stretch of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races gets underway, the competition on-track is heating up. The series hits the midpoint of the regular season with this weekend’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. There are just 13 races left to decide the 16-driver field for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship and, as Glenn Frey noted in his 1984 hit song, “The Heat is On,” The pressure’s high, just to stay alive, ’cause the heat is on.

Danica Patrick and the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) were ranked inside the top-16 for several weeks earlier this season. After earning a ninth-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in April, Patrick was ranked as high as 13th in the driver point standings. But, four back-to-back finishes of 21st or worse dropped Patrick to 18th in the standings and 20 points out of the top-16. While Patrick remains 18th heading into Sunday’s race at Pocono, she was able to close the gap on the top-16 last weekend with a hard-fought 15th-place finish after battling handling issues, damage and a speeding penalty.

As Patrick continues to experience the best season of her Sprint Cup career, the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team must focus on earning more top-10 runs like it scored at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Bristol earlier this year and continue to turn challenging days like the one at Dover into top-15 finishes.

Entering the weekend at Pocono, Patrick looks to improve upon her previous finishes at the 2.5-mile track. In four prior Sprint Cup starts at Pocono, Patrick’s best finish is a 20th-place effort she earned in August 2013. To stay in the hunt for the 2015 Chase field, Patrick will need every point she can get, so a strong finish this weekend is a must.

The heat is on.

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Speedway Digest Staff

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