Danica upset with Nationwide results

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 19, 2012
Trouble in practice, difficulty qualifying, late-race wrecks and even a shoe - yes, a shoe - that she ran over while leading has defined Danica Patrick's first full Nationwide season. She has only two top-10s through the first 29 races for JR Motorsports, and has yet to crack the top 20 during the first seven races of an abbreviated Sprint Cup slate for Stewart-Haas Racing, where Patrick will run full-time next season for team owner Tony Stewart. Now she comes to Kansas, where she'll be running both series this weekend, hoping that some of the success she had here in the IndyCar Series rubs off on the recently repaved track. ''Ultimately, I'm disappointed with the results,'' Patrick said before qualifying 41st for Sunday's Sprint Cup race. ''I wish there were better results on the record books, but there are a lot of drivers that can say that at the end of the year.'' The season couldn't have started out any better. Patrick won the pole for the season-opening Nationwide race at Daytona, and finished eighth a few weeks later at Texas. Never did she think that'd be the high point of the season. She blew an engine at Fontana and crashed at Iowa, and for one frustrating stretch this summer wrecked in five of the 12 races she started. Her head-first crash into the inside retaining wall at Daytona in July led to a 31st-place finish after leading laps earlier in the race. At Road America, Patrick was battling with Jacques Villeneuve on the last lap when they got together, causing her to spin out. Villeneuve finished sixth and Patrick ended up 12th. ''I feel like we've been overall much faster than what our results have showed, and performed better in the race that what our results have showed,'' Patrick said. ''We definitely had a pretty long stretch of bad luck over the summer, and that's where I felt we had the most speed.'' Patrick had plenty of speed at Montreal, too, where the most bizarre twist of fate occurred. She was in the lead and keeping an eye on Villeneuve in her rearview mirror when her No. 7 Chevy hit a shoe thrown on the track. Patrick eventually broke her rear axle and finished 27th, and her crew chief later said the shoe had nothing to do with the mechanical failure. ''There were a bunch of races that things happened that were not completely out of my control, but definitely not always in my control,'' she said. ''With that in mind, it's been an OK season. We recognize as a team we need to find speed. That's why you've seen the changes in the team.'' Along the way, JR Motorsports parted ways with competition director Tony Eury Sr. and Patrick's crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. Ryan Pemberton has been the crew chief the past three races. The results haven't been a whole lot better in the Cup car, either, where Patrick's best run was 25th at Chicago - even though her primary goal has always been to simply gain experience. That's why Stewart laid out a 10-race plan that put Patrick on some of the more challenging tracks in the series, including Darlington and Bristol, where she crashed late in the race. ''It's going to be hard to be competitive right off the bat,'' Stewart said. ''Having gone through those lessons and going through those experiences, that's where we can keep her confidence up and remind her, `Hey, there's a reason we brought you into this program.''' Stewart-Haas Racing announced Friday that Tony Gibson will move to the No. 10 car as Patrick's crew chief next season, and get a jump on 2013 by working her final two races at Texas and Phoenix. Patrick is 10th in the Nationwide points with four races remaining. ''Next year, she'll see the benefits of that, and it's hard,'' Stewart said of her schedule. ''She's running against top-notch guys, top-notch teams, and there's not enough time to let her get caught up at this point, but she's still learning. She's a confident person.'' Confidence has never been an issue, of course. This is the same driver who's brazenly starred in a series of racy Super Bowl ads for her sponsor, Go Daddy, the past few years. Go Daddy announced this week it had signed New York agency Deutsch Inc. to produce its Super Bowl spots this year, which means Patrick may not be involved. But the website domain provider is still committed to sponsoring her Sprint Cup schedule next season. ''My sponsors and partners have always been great,'' Patrick said. ''They don't just sponsor me and put their name on the side of the car. They go beyond that. They use my platform and my reach with fans. I always believe that's what makes the relationship really work. ''While they want me to do well,'' she said, ''I want to do well, and that's the primary goal.''
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Rex Ryan: IK Enempkali could fill void left by Mario Williams

Report: Indians have best deal on table for Chapman


White Sox GM: Chris Sale has not requested trade

Nebraska’s Foltz, ex-MSU punter Sadler killed in car accident

Michael Bennett to Seahawks: Pay me or 'get rid of me'

Victor Cruz expects to be 'ready to go' for training camp

DeMarcus Cousins: All-NBA vote ‘absurd’ and ‘a joke’

Andrew Luck: Colts were 'gutsy' to keep Pagano, Grigson

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

Lou Holtz regrets making immigration 'joke' at RNC

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker