Cup experience has helped Danica Patrick’s Nationwide program

Brad Sweet, driver of the #38 Great Clips Chevrolet, and Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series 5-hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Brad Sweet, driver of the #38 Great Clips Chevrolet, and Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series 5-hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. — It’s patently obvious that Danica Patrick’s comfort level in her NASCAR Nationwide Series car has risen dramatically in her first full season in the series.

Though increased seat time accounts for a lot of the improvement, her three appearances in a Sprint Cup car also contribute. Patrick has three top-10 qualifying efforts in Nationwide this season — including the pole for the season-opening race at Daytona — and she has posted five top-13 results in 11 races.

Patrick agrees that driving the Cup cars, which have more than a 200-horsepower edge over their Nationwide counterparts, has made a difference.

“After Charlotte last weekend, on Memorial Day, I was out floating on Lake Norman and came across Denny Hamlin,” Patrick told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday at Dover International Speedway. “We struck up a conversation, and one of the first things we started talking about was how much it helped him when he started racing a Cup car and how much it helped his Nationwide program.

“I said I couldn’t agree more. I feel like every time I get in a Nationwide car after being in a Cup car, I just feel so much more comfortable than I did previously. It’s definitely a lot of work on the weekends to do both, but I really think it pays off, and it’s definitely something to think about as I move forward.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.