Danica Patrick hopes progress leads to contract extension

Danica Patrick is the cash cow Tony Stewart likes to have – duh, of course he will re-sign her

Danica Patrick insists she made big strides last season, despite finishing 28th in points in her second Sprint Cup season.

And she doesn't plan on going anywhere, continuing her transition from IndyCar to NASCAR, and hopefully remaining with Stewart-Haas Racing and sponsor GoDaddy.

Patrick's contract with the team and her primary sponsor are up after this season but she hopes to extend those agreements sometime this season.

She has no plans to give up on her NASCAR career, despite two seasons of mostly lackluster results in Sprint Cup.

"Well, I ain't getting any younger and I don't know how many times I can change my career," Patrick, 32, said. "So as long as I have the confidence of (co-owners) Tony (Stewart) and Gene (Haas) and the people around me who are working with me and the support of my sponsors like GoDaddy we've had some great sponsors come along. As long as I have their support and the confidence of the people around me, I'm not going F1 anytime soon, that's for sure."

Patrick, a former IndyCar race winner, ran two part-time and one full-time season in the Nationwide Series after moving to NASCAR. She is beginning her third full Sprint Cup season with Stewart-Haas Racing and both Stewart and Haas believe she has shown progress the past two seasons. She had just one top-10 finish in her rookie season and finished 27th in points. She had three top-10s and ran better last season, despite slipping to 28th in the standings.

Her goal this year, she said, is to continue that progress. She hopes to do so with a new crew chief in Daniel Knost, who won a race and made the Chase last year with Kurt Busch.

"I want to pick up where I left off with (former crew chief) Tony Gibson and his guys who taught me so much and helped me get much further toward the front and qualifying much better and running much better," Patrick said Tuesday during the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Media Tour.

"I feel like we got to the point where top 15 was really where our speed was and we ran there much more frequently, so it's time to make that very consistent. The progression would be to work into the top 10."

Patrick said she already has had discussions with GoDaddy about extending her contract.

"We have been talking about it for quite awhile," she said. "They want to and we just have to make sure that we keep giving each other value. I know they give me value, so for me, it's about giving back to them and we have been doing a lot of great things lately to promote their company."

Team co-owner Gene Haas said contract negotiations have begun and he is happy with Patrick's progress.

"I think she has done good," he said. "Looking back at a Joey Logano, he spent all those years at Gibbs and it took him six years to get going. I don't think that she's that far off the mark. She's probably on the mark, really." Sporting News

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