In front of her hometown fans at Chicagoland Speedway, Danica Patrick entered Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race expecting to finish somewhere in the top 10.
But a constantly loose-handling race car was too much to overcome and she was forced to settle for 12th. Patrick had hoped for better, considering she had many friends and family members in town for the race.
"The results are just the egotistical measure," Patrick said. "You always want to finish well. And for your fans and the people supporting you – they want to see you to do well result-wise, too. I want to give it them and do well for Go Daddy and people like that."
The day wasn't completely uneventful for Patrick. In the closing laps, some hard racing between her and Brad Sweet (a lapped car) led to Patrick demanding her team find Sweet's spotter to tell him to let her by.
Afterward, Patrick downplayed the incident and said it was simply a byproduct of Sweet being a lap down while Patrick was trying to maintain her position.
"I had about made it by and he sort of hung between (Turns) 3 and 4, and I was just frustrated that the 44 (Mike Bliss) was catching," Patrick said. "If the 44 wasn't catching, fine – there was nothing really to gain or lose. But I was just getting concerned with him catching up.
"It was getting down to those last 10, 20 laps and you just want to run hard for position."
With just seven races left in the season, Patrick is hoping to use the remainder of the year as a way to hone her skills before she moves up to a full Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2013.
"We're getting towards the end of the year," Patrick said. "And we've seen throughout the year, there is a heck of a lot of good drivers out there and that's what makes the Nationwide Series such a good training ground for Cup."
After qualifying 41st, Patrick will make her sixth Cup start of the year on Sunday.