She missed out on her 2014 Sprint Cup chances, but Danica Patrick–one of the biggest crossover names in racing (people know Danica who don’t know any other drivers)–is still hugely important to the NASCAR franchise. She’ll be in Chicago this weekend and a good-sized group of fans will tune in just to see if she can perform strongly–and show signs of moving into postseason form for 2015. (The networks still count on a little Danica Patrick pop.) Patrick has had nine top-20 finishes this year, including a 16th last week at Richmond and an impressive, career-best sixth at Atlanta the week before–and she’s performed well in Chicago in the past.
Patrick finished 28th in the Sprint Cup standings, with Richmond marking the end of the regular season. Chicago begins the ten race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with 16 drivers competing for the Cup. Danica Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick are in the hunt.