Talk about lowering the bar of expectations:
Danica Patrick didn’t win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday
That honor went to Kyle Busch. However, Patrick finished a career-best 30th. And for Patrick, qualifying 25th for Saturday’s New England 200 was also progress.
The NASCAR rookie was far from Brad Keselowski’s pole-winning lap of 29.376 seconds (129.657 mph). And while the JR Motorsports team was hoping for a 30-flat, Patrick’s qualifying lap of 30.292 seconds (125.736 mph) turned out to be her fastest lap of the weekend.
The goal for Patrick and the No. 7 JR Motorsports team this season is taking baby steps. Any improvement is a step in the right direction.
“Things are going good,” said crew chief Tony Eury Jr. “She tries to say it’s not hard, but it’s got to be hard going from Indy Car to back stock cars. We coil bind springs. We do different things over here. We’ve been pretty happy with her progress. Every time she goes out she gets quicker over here. That’s all we can ask.
“This whole year is going to be about learning. It’s not about how many races we can win or top fives. It’s more about 'let’s learn about these cars. Let’s learn how they race.' That’s what we have to realize. Next year we’ll come back and say, ‘We want to compete for top fives. We want to compete for wins.’ But she’s got a big learning curve ahead of her and this is her third down-force race. So I’m pretty tickled with it. They’re going to be rough and banging and picking each other up out there all day , so we’ll see how she handles that.”
All of that may be true, but this is Danica Patrick. Does she have the patience and the maturity to handle NASCAR? From what I've seen so far, she doesn't have what it takes. She may be a great race car driver, but she's not competitive enough to make it.
Thems the breaks, kid.