NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 28 Danica Patrick

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Danica Patrick

Season finish: 28th

2014 Season Stats: 0 wins, 0 top-5, 3 top-10, 0 Poles.

What went right: While she finished one spot lower in the 2014 Sprint Cup season standings (28th) than her first full-time season in Sprint Cup in 2013 (27th), it’s pretty clear that Danica Patrick did show improvement this past season. She had three top-10 finishes (up from just one the season before), including a career-best sixth-place finish at Atlanta. Look at other 2014 improvements over 2013: 14 top-20 finishes (vs. nine in 2013), led 15 laps (vs. five in 2013), average start per race (22.3 in 2014 vs. 30.1 in 2013), average finish per race (23.7 in 2014 vs. 26.1 in 2013). And perhaps the biggest improvement: lead-lap finishes – 19 in 2014 vs. just 12 in 2013. Collectively, they may not be huge gains, but they’re gains nonetheless – and are also indicators that Patrick will be even better in 2015.

What went wrong: Obviously, Patrick would have liked a better season performance-wise. She didn’t have the big splash in the Daytona 500 that she had when she won the pole and finished eighth there in 2013. She also continued to have consistency problems from race-to-race. She also continued to have problems with restarts. “She’s got to really figure out a way to race better and be more aggressive on restarts,” former crew chief Tony Gibson told ESPN.com. “If she can ever figure out how to get her restarts better here, she can hold her position or gain two or three, she will be more successful.”

2015 Prospectus: Patrick had her mentor and first Cup crew chief, Tony Gibson, taken away and shifted to the same role with Kurt Busch’s team late in the 2014 season. Busch’s crew chief, Daniel Knost, served the last three races of 2014 with Patrick (finishes of 36th at Texas, 22nd at Phoenix and 18th at Homestead) in what was initially termed an interim position. There’s been no change since then, so as we prepare to enter 2015, it’s unclear if Knost will remain as Patrick’s crew chief or if someone else will replace him before the start of the season. At this stage, it would seem likely to let Knost remain in the position and see how he and Patrick work together over the course of a full season. Also at this stage, there’s been no announcement of any significant changes in her pit crew, so it’s likely her 2014 crew will return intact in 2015. From a realistic standpoint, Patrick should continue to show improvement in 2015, perhaps even finishing in the top-20. She’s still looking for her first career Cup victory, which would put her in the Chase. If that were to happen in 2015, it would elevate her confidence and popularity significantly. “We did improve this year, and I hope we do better in 2015,” she said late in the 2014 season. “(I’m) looking forward to next year.”

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.