DANICA PATRICK: Driver Profile
Danica’s five years in the IRL have been marked by new records for a woman across the board in both the series and in the Indianapolis 500. She has won a race, finished in the Top Five and Top Ten consistently, and has shown the ability to be a contender for victory in the Indianapolis 500 and a potential threat on other oval tracks. She has improved her ranking in the Indycar point hierarchy each year. Her qualifying on oval tracks is statistically superior to her race finishes. She has yet to demonstrate consistency on street and temporary circuits and traditional road courses, a skill less important in the early years of the IRL but more important as the schedule includes more of these venues. Danica is in the unique position of being the first woman to be the highest-ranked US driver in Indycar racing and has held that honor the last two years.
Evaluating Danica’s career by venue, it is clear that Indianapolis is her best venue. Danica has never qualified lower than tenth (2006 and 2009) and has an average start of 7.4. Other than her accident-caused retirement in 2008, she has finished third and fourth plus two eighths. She has led her team in qualifying three times and has led her team at the finish twice with two second-ranking finishes.
Motegi has produced a win (2008), four Top Ten finishes and an eleventh (2007) for an average finish of 6.0 and rivals Indianapolis for results; nevertheless, Danica has been more competitive at Indianapolis in racing conditions.
Danica has contested fifty-seven oval IRL races, posting an average finish of 9.70 from an average start of 8.32 Her average team finish rank is 2.16 and her average team start rank is 2.01. She has led her team at the finish of an oval race twelve times (21.1%) and has led her team in oval qualifying twenty-six times (45.6%).
Danica’s performance on street circuits rank second of the three venue types. In twelve street circuit races (including the Edmonton airport course) she has an average finish of 10.83 from an average start of 16.0, an average team finish rank of 2.58 and an average team start rank of 3.0. She has led her team at the finish of a street circuit race twice but has never led her team in qualifying for a street circuit race. Her best finish, second, came in the 2007 Detroit race and is her only podium finish in a street race. She has two Top Five and six Top Ten finishes in the twelve races. Her best qualifying position for a street race, tenth, came in the 2008 Detroit event.
Patrick’s efforts on the traditional road courses rank third of the three venue types. In thirteen road course races she has an average finish of 11.62 from an average start of 11.62, an average team finish rank of 2.92, and an average team start rank of 2.69. She has led her team at the finish of a traditional road course race only once (2005 Watkins Glen) in a very poor race for Rahal/Letterman when Danica’s sixteenth was the best result! She has led her team in qualifying three times, most notably with a runnerup start at Mid-Ohio in 2007. Danica’s best finish on a road course has been fifth twice (2007 Mid-Ohio, 2008 Sears Point). She has five Top Ten finishes and two starts of second (2007 Mid-Ohio and Sears Point).
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