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Danica Patrick doesn't love Bristol, but she's thinking positive

Danica Patrick admits she's still trying to get comfortable at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Danica Patrick enjoyed one of her best days as a NASCAR Cup driver when she finished ninth at Bristol Motor Speedway in April 2015.

That doesn't mean she enjoys Bristol all that much. She has only one other top-20 finish in her 10 career starts at the track. She has never started inside the top 20 on the high-banked 0.533-mile concrete oval.

So no surprise, Patrick doesn't enter the Bristol night race this weekend with much anticipation.

"Bristol is one of those places, I'm not going to say I like going there," Patrick said Monday.

She then looked over to crew chief Billy Scott and said: "Sorry, Billy."

Scott looked at Patrick and said: "We're going anyways."

Patrick will try to bring a positive attitude and build on a much better second half of the regular season when the NASCAR Cup drivers race Saturday night. She averaged a finish of 27.8 over the first 12 races of the season. In the past 11 races, she has an average finish of 18.5.

She rattled off four consecutive top-15 finishes before placing 22nd in her past two Cup starts.

"We finally have gotten away from bad luck," Patrick said. "We finally found ourselves having clean races and staying out of trouble and getting lucky on top of not having bad luck.

"We've had some good luck too. ... Yes, I still have to turn the wheel and avoid accidents, but you never know at what point in time there's nothing you can do anymore. We've been on the better side of that."

So why doesn't Patrick like Bristol? She explained that the way a driver approaches the turn is so different than what she experienced as an open-wheel driver.

"Any time there is a lot of close quarters with the wall, that is where I tend to not have as much of a comfort zone because I'm used to apexing the corner down on the bottom," Patrick said.

Running up against the wall is just one of the things that Patrick had to learn in her transition to full-time NASCAR racing over the past seven years. The bump-and-run is a concept that Patrick never had to do until competing in stock cars, and she just needs to have a great car to get comfortable to achieve what she wants.

"I like bumping," she said. "I just don't feel like I can always do it without hurting myself in the process. ... When we were there in the spring, I don't know what happened, but for 30 laps my car was on fire. And I bumped and ran, probably six people."

Patrick then explained her philosophy of how she decides if she has a car good enough to pull off such a feat.

"When you bump-and-run, you've got to run because the last thing you want is [for them] to get back to you," Patrick said. "So I did that to about five or six people [last April], I got into the lucky dog spot and then my car got tight.

"I did it and it was fun. The car has to be good enough to do that."

Considering the race is 500 laps, having a good car for just 30 laps won't cut it.

"I don't get excited like [boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr.] gets excited for Bristol," Patrick said. "But I should because it will help me.

"I need to think positive about it and thoughts become things, and so I need to think about how much I love Bristol, how good the car is going to be, how brave I'm going to be, how much I love the wall."