Danica Patrick Continues To Improve

By Christy Valdez
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2013 NASCAR season progresses, Danica Patrick continues her rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Heading into the race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Patrick will be making her second start of her rookie season. As she prepares to compete in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Patrick will get the opportunity to continue on her improvement behind the wheel of a cup car.

During the 2012 season, Patrick had the opportunity to prepare for her full-time season move into cup by racing in a partial 10-race schedule. Throughout those 10 races, she showed improvement through each one. She improved her performance from being several laps behind in her first start to finishing on the lead lap, ending the year averaging a 28.3 finish.

With her rookie year beginning at Daytona International Speedway, it was the first track where her previous starts were put to the test.

The Daytona 500 gave Patrick a great start to the season, as she won the pole for the race, as well as securing her spot in the 2014 Sprint Unlimited. Throughout the race, she maintained herself on the lead pack. After making many of her NASCAR starts at Daytona, she proved to be comfortable with the track after ending the day with a top-10 finish in eighth place.

As the Cup Series moves on to Phoenix, Patrick gets another opportunity to keep up the momentum. She has raced at Phoenix before with the Nationwide Series, and in the last Cup race at the track in 2012. During her last visit at the track, Patrick captured a 10th place finish in Nationwide, along with a 17th place finish in the Cup.

Patrick qualified in 40th place in Friday’s qualifying session, and will have to work her way up if she wants to stay competitive throughout the race and make up for a disappointing qualifying session. She’s off to a great start to the year and is currently ahead of her fellow rookie competition. Phoenix will be the chance to continue her run.

Christy Valdez is a member of the NASCAR Media. Follow her on Twitter @Knowursports and on Facebook at On The Sidelines With Christy 

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