At halfway point, how do Danica's numbers compare with '13?
JUL 10, 2014 7:00p ET
Danica Patrick, by most all accounts, has enjoyed much-improved results from her 2013 rookie campaign in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
With the season exactly halfway over, Patrick's two top-10 finishes -- which include an eighth-place result in last Sunday's rain-shortened Daytona race -- are already twice as many as she logged all of last year.
Patrick has an average finish of 16th in the past four races, and has finished 18th or better six times in the season's 18 races -- more than she did in last season's 36 races.
Since the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has recorded an average starting position of 15.6, which represents a major improvement on her qualifying average of 30.1 for all races in 2013.
Now heading to New Hampshire Motor Speedway -- one of her favorite tracks -- for Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301, Patrick is justifiably feeling pretty well about the state of affairs with her No. 10 team led by crew chief Tony Gibson.
"We're getting better," Patrick said. "The more I get to these racetracks and get experience, the better I am. I think we're qualifying better, for sure, and I think our race results are better. A lot of that has to do with the GoDaddy team and Tony Gibson giving me good cars.
"It's a process, but I think it's moving in the right direction."
Sunday's finish at Daytona was certainly a step in the right direction for Patrick, who came home with her second eighth-place result at the World Center of Racing despite missing her pit stall once and incurring minor damage in both of the day's two major crashes.
"I still can't believe we got through two accidents, blew by my pit stall and finished eighth," she said. "It was pretty unbelievable."
Now it's on to New Hampshire, a flat, 1.058-mile track where Patrick finished sixth in the 2011 IndyCar race and 14th in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
While she has never finished better than 27th in two Sprint Cup Series starts at "The Magic Mile," Patrick is excited about heading north for the weekend.
She's even happier that her results seem to be headed in the same direction.
"I really like going there," Patrick said of the Sprint Cup Series' lone track north of Pennsylvania. "I like that area of the country and like the restaurants and what it has to offer. I haven't been there a whole lot, but I enjoy it and like it.
"We were OK (at New Hampshire) last year, and I'm anxious to see what we've got this year. Tony Gibson and his guys have won there before, so I'm ready to get going."