Take 5: Five Thoughts Leaving Atlanta

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If the chase began today, Danica Patrick would be in.

Yes, I know that the chase doesn’t begin today but that doesn’t change the nice start that Patrick has gotten her season off to.

I said coming into this season that Patrick and the No.10 team needed to take some big steps in the right direction. One of the keys that I outlined for her was that she needed to turn top-30 finishes into top-20 finishes.

At Daytona she just missed the mark with a 21st-place finish. This past weekend in Atlanta she finished 16th. Having watched Patrick race over the last few seasons I know that she could run off a stretch of bad finishes very easily over the next month, but there is no need to think like that unless it happens. Patrick needs to continue to take things one weekend at a time. A 16th-place finish is something to build on for her and her team.

If Patrick can find more consistency this season who knows where she might be when it comes time for the chase.