Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 7/18/12

Danica Patrick has 17 starts on the NASCAR season with one top ten finish, an average start of 13.6 and average finish of 19.9. She’s currently ninth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series points standings. Patrick’s position makes her the all-time highest ranked female in NNS competition this late into the season.

This weekend, the Roscoe, Illinois (90 miles northwest of Chicago) native is having her homecoming, at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL. At this track, she’s raced twice: finishing 10th once, and 24th on the other occasion. The track was the site of Patrick’s third-career pole in IndyCar competition, where she holds six starts with an average finish of 10.8.

“I love this city, I’ve always loved this city from the time I got my license when I was 16, I would bring my best friend and we would park over by the Water Tower and walk down Michigan Avenue and rollerblade up and down Lake Shore and it’s always nice to do well in cities that you enjoy being in,” she said about Chicago.

So what stands out about the Chicagoland Speedway, I asked.

“A lot of fast, close racing, it’s a little bit different in NASCAR because there’s lifting involved with the throttle on the track,” she answered.

All but one of her career top-10 efforts have come at high-banked 1.5-mile facilities (Chicagoland, Las Vegas, Texas). She is averaging a finish of 11.3 at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Danica assessed how her season is coming along.

“I’m definitely getting better overall,” she said.

“My pace is getting faster every weekend. I remember hoping that I would be in the top 20 in practice. Now, I’m in the top 10 and hoping I can be top five or quickest. Practice and qualifying are getting much better. Good qualifying results help a lot during the race. I like seeing improvement.

“I think we just need to transition from a car that’s comfortable for me, to a car that I deal with and can be fast through the whole run. Right now, it feels like I can be fast at the beginning or end of a run. I just need to put all three parts of the run together – beginning, middle and end.”

On a side note, she now has a new means to travel to her races every weekend. Private jet operator Jet Edge International recently announced the addition of Danica Patrick to their client roster.

“The Danica Racing Team has worked successfully with the senior leadership team at Jet Edge for some time now and we are excited for the opportunity to be part of their new company for the upcoming 2012 and 2013 race schedule”, said Patrick in a statement.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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