Danica Patrick finishes better than usual, her season not as bad as it seems



I’ve been pretty hard on Danica Patrick this NASCAR season in regards to her results on the race track. I even called Danica Patrick the Tim Tebow of racing at one point. Perhaps that was a bit much. I was being hyperbolic. Because Tim Tebow is actually, truly terrible at what he does, while Patrick is is not.

It’s just that Danica is an amplifier; just like Tebow. Both athletes get so much coverage and hype despite actually ever producing much. However, upon further review Danica Patrick isn’t all that terrible. She opened the 2013 Cup season by winning the pole in the Daytona 500 and finishing eighth in the biggest race of the season.

Since then, it was all downhill though. She hasn’t hit the top 10, and her average finish was an ugly 26.6; before taking 21st place in Atlanta last night. To finish 27th…how many “start and parkers” do you beat to pad your numbers up that high? NASCAR Cup Series is a 43 car field.


Danica Patrick, who started 21st, drove a smooth, clean race and finished eight spots higher on Saturday night than she did a year ago at Atlanta.

“I’m proud of the GoDaddy guys,” said Danica Patrick, who made her 35th Sprint Cup start and her second at Atlanta. “We weren’t good in the first practice (on Friday). Tony Gibson and the guys worked really hard, and we qualified well and then continued to get better throughout the weekend.

But when you compare it to the rookie seasons of other drivers who have moved to NASCAR from major open-wheel and sports-car series, suddenly, Patrick’s numbers don’t look bad.


Here are the stats, courtesy of Fox Sports:

Danica Patrick, NASCAR Sprint Cup career to date – 34 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10, average finish, 26.6.

ANDY LALLY (2011) – 30 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 tops 10s, average finish, 30.8.

SCOTT SPEED (2009) – 35 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10, average finish, 29.0.

SAM HORNISH JR. (2008) – 34 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 tops 10s, average finish, 29.6.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA(2007) – 36 starts, 1 victory, 3 top fives 6 top 10s, average finish, 22.7.

AJ ALLMENDINGER (2007) – 17 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 tops 10s, average finish, 31.6.

CASEY MEARS (2003) – 36 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 tops 10s, average finish, 30.0.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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  1. Please stop promoting Danicant. If you actually watched the race you would have seen that she was absolutely not competitive.

  2. So you take a sampling of drivers that were as bad as her?? What about Jeff Gordon as a rookie? Jimmie Johnson? Kyle Busch??? C’mon! She floats back in the back, stays out of trouble while attrition takes care of all the poorly funded cars and those with engine problems and wrecks and then you have the audacity to say she’s not that bad? Watch the race next time!

  3. Looking at this you’d think Casey Mears hadn’t ever done anything behind the wheel of a stock car, ignoring the fact he won the 2007 Coca Cola 600 and even had a top 10 at the July Daytona race this year. Good research!

  4. brent nowostawski says:

    I’ve always said people should compare her to equals. Instead they want to compare her to legends !!! Don’t compare her to rookies that have raced their whole lives in stock cars. Even if you do…look at Stenhouse ! 2 time NNW champion promoted within the same team to a VETERAN , championship team replacing Matt Kenseth !! Who did Danica replace ?? Nobody! Her car and team did not exist before last year. This is not an easy game for rookies no matter where they come from. Except for a few superstars rookies struggle people. Patrick has to overcome a new team and the new gen6 car in her 1st full year in cup. She’s got a pole , top ten , 12th and a 15th in her first year! Pretty impressive !! See how many rookies have accomplished that ! No matter what she does , haters will hate and their ignorance is ugly and bad for this sport!

  5. she sucks and I don’t mean only cocks.

  6. Dave in Ohio says:

    I am sick and tired of hearing about Danica. Na$car has been shamelessly promoting this no talent driver strictly to get a little media buzz to what has become an unexciting sport. Media: wake up, open your eyes, SHE CAN’T DRIVE A RACE CAR AT THIS LEVEL! I don’t care that she’s female, she’s just non any good, and only gets exposure because she’s female. Imagine any other male driver that the media would be falling all over themselves to talk about how good that 21st place finish was. That “great” 21st place finish was TWO LAPS DOWN! Seriously? Come back and tell me what a great race car driver she is when she starts to finish on the lead lap more often than not.

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