Patrick concedes taking the checkered flag 'is a process'

Fri May 30, 2014 5:03pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

DOVER Delaware (Reuters) - Danica Patrick sits on the floor of a customized motor coach in the infield of Dover International Speedway, softly petting her puppy.

Despite just two Top 10 finishes in two-plus years in NASCAR's top series, life is good for the 32-year-old pioneer.

"I love what I'm doing," she told Reuters on Friday over the roar of qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race. "It's a lot of fun. I'm with a lot of great people and the racing is great."

Although her results in 58 Sprint Cup starts have been decidedly mixed, the attention that the 5-foot-2, 100-pound Patrick receives continues to rival the sport's top racers.

She appears resigned to the scrutiny in the male-dominated sport but insists she no longer gets as many questions about being a girl.

"I find the better I do on that track and the more good things I have going on there, the more we talk about that," she said. "We just talk about the racing and what it took to get there."

Patrick placed seventh in Kansas two weeks ago but finished 39th last week in Charlotte after being smacked from behind while trying to avoid a wreck in front of her.

She is realistic about the role luck plays in NASCAR.   Continued...

Feb 22, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Danica Patrick (30) before the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports