Danica Patrick: Latest News and 2014 Sprint Cup Ranking Ahead of Atlanta

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IAugust 26, 2014

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 22:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Just a week after another top-20 finish at Michigan, Danica Patrick was unable to repeat her success at Bristol. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver struggled to stay on the lead lap throughout the race and experienced issues that led to a 27th-place finish.

Dealing with a tight car and getting spun out by Alex Bowman, Patrick was unable to put together a strong finish at Bristol. As a result, she finished seven laps down and remained well outside of contention for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

In need of a victory and narrowly remaining inside the top 30 in points, hopes for making the Chase are slim. Patrick was unable to nail down a good result at Bristol but has a chance to recover in Atlanta.

Only two races are left as Patrick looks to make NASCAR's postseason. If Patrick can't clinch a win during that short window, she will be on the outside looking in for the final races of the season.

But with no top-20 finishes at the track during her career, it doesn't appear likely that Patrick will contend for that elusive victory. Here's a look at the Sprint Cup standings and the latest news on Patrick ahead of the Oral-B USA 500.

Danica Patrick 2014 Results
Irwin Tools Night RaceBristol Motor Speedway2427
Pure Michigan 400Michigan International Speedway1418
Cheez-It 355Watkins Glen International4321
GoBowling.com 400Pocono Raceway1030
Brickyard 400Indianapolis Motor Speedway1442
Camping World RV Sales 301New Hampshire Motor Speedway2922
Coke Zero 400Daytona International Speedway298
Quaker State 400Kentucky Speedway1021
Toyota/Save Mart 350Sonoma Raceway1118
Quicken Loans 400Michigan International Speedway2717
Pocono 400Pocono Raceway1637
FedEx 400Dover International Speedway2823
Coca-Cola 600Charlotte Motor Speedway439
5-Hour Energy 400Kansas Speedway97
Aaron's 499Talladega Superspeedway722
Toyota Owners 400Richmond International Raceway3534
Bojangles' Southern 500Darlington Raceway3322
Duck Commander 500Texas Motor Speedway2427
STP 500Martinsville Speedway1032
Auto Club 400Auto Club Speedway2714
Food City 500Bristol Motor Speedway3618
Kobalt 400Las Vegas Motor Speedway2221
The Profit on CNBC 500Phoenix International Raceway3336
Daytona 500Daytona International Speedway2740
2014 Sprint Cup Chase Grid
Pos.DriverPointsWinsTop 5Top 10
1Jeff Gordon8453816
2Dale Earnhardt Jr.81831116
3Brad Keselowski77631012
4Joey Logano76131014
5Jimmie Johnson7263714
6Kevin Harvick7212712
7Carl Edwards7162510
8Kyle Busch629169
9Denny Hamlin5941510
10Kurt Busch592166
11AJ Allmendinger586124
12Aric Almirola559124
13Matt Kenseth7510915
14Ryan Newman710028
15Clint Bowyer6990310
16Greg Biffle694039
28Danica Patrick462002

Latest News

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 23:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Patrick Smi
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Much like her season thus far, Patrick's finish at the short track was a bitter disappointment. After slowly improving at the short track throughout her career, Patrick struggled to find any consistency on the track.

The SHR driver notched an 18th-place result earlier in the season but was unable to mirror that success over the weekend. Patrick spoke about the unfortunate result at Bristol, per USA Today:

It was just a rough night. Our GoDaddy car just wasn't that good from the beginning, and that kind of put us behind. The guys kept working on it with their adjustments, and they got it headed in the right direction, but it was just too late by that point.

I think we all just did the best we could to hang in there, make the car better and try to make a good night out of it. It wasn't the finish that we wanted, but we didn't give up.

Though she didn't reference the accident with Bowman, it was clearly a factor for Patrick.

Struggling to remain in contention, the mishap with Bowman put her further behind the pack and ultimately seven laps down. There was clearly no intent behind the contact, but Bowman issued an apology on Twitter:

By Lap 38, Patrick had already dropped a lap and was no longer in contention for a strong result. Already two laps down, Bowman's contact with Patrick hurt any chances of getting back to the lead lap and dropped her two more laps behind.

Following the race, Patrick stated her thoughts on the incident and her plans moving forward, per Dustin Long of MRN:

I think we're fine. He’s just got to know that when you do that and you don’t leave room for error and you hit me and take me out, I’m right there. As soon as I find you again I’m going to let you know I’m not happy. We’re fine. If he does it again, worse things will happen. That’s all.

The frustrating result didn't end in Patrick's favor, but she was still available after the race for her fans. SHR's Instagram account captured this picture of the driver signing autographs after the Bristol race:

Rather than heading to a track where she's enjoyed success, Patrick will need to turn around her fortunes at Atlanta. The Oral-B USA 500 marks a chance for her to prove she can compete in NASCAR, but she'll need a phenomenal run.

Here's a look at Patrick's career results in Atlanta:

Danica Patrick Atlanta Results
DateFinishStartLaps LedDriver RatingStatus
Sept. 1, 20132121061.1Running
Sept. 2, 20122923043.6Running

Looking to turn things around for the better, Patrick is in desperate need of a great finish at the difficult track. But without a top 10 since the Coke Zero 400, Patrick's chances at duplicating that success is not likely at Atlanta.

The only chance for Patrick to make the Chase is by way of a win in the final two races. As the postseason fast approaches, she might be left without a chance to contend for a title in the final races.

Though she still has a glimmer of hope for making the Chase, a victory is a necessity for one of NASCAR's most polarizing figures. Unfortunately, that won't come at Atlanta as she continues to struggle with the Chase on the horizon.

Predicted finish: 24th

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.


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