HOMESTEAD, Fla. — As Queen Elizabeth once said of a year of Royal upheaval at Buckingham Place, 2010 was the “annus horribilis” for racing star Danica Patrick.
In her first season competing in both the IZOD IndyCar Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series, Patrick failed to make much of a mark in either.
Her 10th place finish in IndyCar points was the worst of the past five seasons and she struggled in NASCAR until Saturday’s Ford 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway, where she finished 19th — her best yet — in her No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
Still it’s a far cry from running regularly among the leaders that many expected, especially in good equipment supplied by JRM.
Patrick, however, is far from discouraged, as she said in an interview with USA Today earlier this week.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” she said.
However in a session with NASCAR media at the race track prior to the Ford 300 she poured out her frustrations.
“I knew this was going to be the hardest year of my career,” she said. “It still doesn’t prepare you. It still (stinks). It’s still hard, and you still cry.”
Patrick said that it wasn’t for lack of trying and that she doesn’t doubt she has the talent to conquer NASCAR, she just thinks it’s a matter of experience,
“You still want to be great, (but) experience has held me back,” she said. “It’s hard. I want to do well. I want to show I can do it.”
One of the criticisms that has followed her NASCAR career has been that she hasn’t shown the angry, aggressive side of her nature that has popped up occasionally in IndyCars.
Patrick, however, said that next season she’ll be better able to bump with the boys.
“You have to say enough is enough,” she said. “It’s time I make sure I stand up for myself.”