Winless Danica Patrick frustrated with 2009 results
"It's hard to look back at 2009 and not feel a little bit frustrated or just want to shrug your shoulders and wonder why or how things went the way they did for us this year.
"That's not to say that it was all bad. I finished fifth in points, which is the best finish I've had in the points in my career. So that's a good thing and it's not something you want to take lightly. But let's face it - at the end of the day you want to be contending for wins every weekend and battling for the championship until the last lap of the season, and we just weren't at that level this year.
"There's no question that our team knows what it's like to be in that position. AGR has obviously won a lot of races and has three championships to show for its time in the IndyCar Series so far. We have talented drivers - all of us have won races and Tony Kanaan has a championship on his resume, so we all know how to get it done. But, in the last couple years, we've just not been doing that like we used to.
"In general, I think one of the bright spots for me this year was having Michael Andretti call my races and run my pit. Mike has seen just about everything during his career as a driver and now as an owner, and having that insight is really a plus. He made some good strategy calls this year and helped us make up for some of whatever we missed in qualifying at some races. Long Beach comes to mind, specifically, and Toronto, too. The street circuits and road courses this year were particularly tough for us in qualifying, and we really made the best of those two specifically with strategy.
"We finished third at Indy, which was my best career finish there and, of course, the best finish ever there for a woman. But the nice thing about it this year - as strange as this sounds - is that people didn't make that big a deal of it. I kind of appreciated that because it made it clear to me that people expected me to be there and weren't shocked by it. I certainly wasn't satisfied with third; I go to Indy every year with the idea of winning it. That's all I want to do. Third is a decent day in the biggest race of the year, but it's not a win.
"Indy was also part of a good stretch for us early in the season and that's when we really put ourselves in a good position in the championship. We had four straight top fives between Long Beach and Milwaukee and had eight top 10s in nine races there. It's by far the best stretch I've had in my career so far. But we needed a couple wins in there to stay with the Penske and Ganassi guys and we just didn't have the pace to do it. That's when we kind of lost touch with them for the title and had to focus on holding on to fifth.
"All in all, I'm happy with the season. We've got a lot of good people on the team and have a lot of work to do. But I know everybody at AGR is ready to dig in and do what it takes." Danica Patrick