Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Blount [Print without images]

Monday, August 16, 2010
For Danica Patrick, numbers are telling


Halfway through Danica Patrick's first-year jump into NASCAR, the numbers don't look good. In fact, they're pitiful.

In six starts, her average finish is 30.5 and her average starting spot is 29th. She has not finished on the lead lap in any event. Her best finish was 24th at Chicagoland Speedway last month.

And this in a car (the No. 7 Chevrolet) and with a team (JR Motorsports) capable of finishing much better.

The only glimmer of hope so far is she finished better than where she started in four of the six races. She finished six spots ahead of where she started on Saturday at Michigan (27th from 33rd) but still ended up four laps down.

It's impossible to make a valid assessment after six races, but that's the point. This never will work with Patrick doing it on a part-time basis. It's like asking someone to become a scratch golfer by playing nine holes once a month.

Patrick's Nationwide schedule will pick up when the IndyCar Series season ends in early October. This NASCAR experiment also has hurt her IndyCar performance.

Patrick is on the way to her worst IndyCar season since she finished 12th as a rookie in 2005. She's 11th in the standings after finishing fifth last year.

Seven races remain on her 2010 Nationwide schedule: Dover, Fontana, Charlotte, Gateway, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

She needs to show some real improvement in the fall for people to believe Patrick has any chance of making NASCAR a viable option beyond 2010.