MOTEGI, Japan – Danica Patrick is aiming to set aside a disappointing season with a win at this weekend's Indy Japan, where she made history two years ago.
Patrick became the first female driver to win a major closed-course auto racing event when she won the Indy Japan in 2008.
"It's been a tough year and (winning) would be a really nice thing to happen with two races left," Patrick said Friday. "It would be another great memory of Japan."
Australian driver Will Power holds a 17-point lead over defending series champion Dario Franchitti and could wrap up the title with a win in Sunday's race at the 1.5-mile oval.
Patrick finished the 2009 IndyCar series a career best fifth in points on the strength of five top-five finishes. She had hoped to contend for the championship this season but has struggled and is currently 11th in the standings with 297 points.
Her 2008 breakthrough win means she is a crowd favorite in Japan.
"I've always enjoyed coming to Japan," Patrick said. "I've had a lot of success here and it's a special place for a lot of different reasons, not just the win."
Patrick's best finish this year was second place at the Firestone 550 in Forth Worth in June. She said Friday she isn't sure what the cause of her problems has been.
"To be blunt about it, if I knew the reason, I'd be able to fix it," Patrick said. "I really can't put my finger on it. We want wins and we've taken some risks but luck hasn't been with us."
Her historic win here in 2008 was attributed to fuel strategy, and Patrick said that could come into play for Sunday's race.
"Fuel tends to play a role in the race here," Patrick said. "But it's hard to tell what the strategy will be. Fuel could come into it but the racing has been hard and fast all year so you've just to get into it from the get-go."
Patrick is running a 13-race NASCAR schedule this year that is built around her IndyCar commitments.
Qualifying for Sunday's race will be held on Saturday.