Danica riding hot streak
Danica Patrick heads to Texas Motor Speedway as the only IndyCar Series driver riding a streak of four consecutive top-five finishes. The streak has come on a diverse set of circuits that makes the IndyCar Series so challenging.
Patrick finished fourth on the streets of Long Beach (after starting 22nd), fifth on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, third on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway and fifth on the short 1-mile oval at Milwaukee.
She ranks fourth in points, just 22 behind series leader Scott Dixon, and one spot behind her career-best points position of third, which she reached after her victory at Twin Ring Motegi last year.
"I had a strong car all weekend, so I'm happy with the top-five finish," Patrick said after the race at Milwaukee. "We have been really consistent so far this year, and that's what's important when you are working towards the championship."
Her fellow competitors concede that she is a championship contender in 2009.
"I think she could definitely be a factor, especially with a lot of ovals that we have left on the schedule," Dixon said. "There are a good six, seven, eight people that could win this championship, and she is one of them."
Added Castroneves: "I always said and have been outspoken about Danica in terms that she is a good driver. So if she is in the top five in points, no question she is doing a fantastic job. I think everybody in the top five is a contender."
The Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas could provide the opportunity for Patrick to continue her climb in the standings. Patrick has three top-10 starts in four races at Texas, and two consecutive top-10 finishes, including a third in 2007.
"I'm looking forward to Texas and hope to keep the momentum going," she said. "I've had some good races there, and I think my race craft is getting better and better, so I'm excited to go there and run side-by-side for awhile and put on a good show."