Danica hype is significantly reduced this year, but whenever she is shown during a race the commentary has been that she is “learning” (after three full seasons!) and that she is “getting better all the time” and about what a great future she has. The facts so far this year would suggest otherwise.
At this point last season, after eight races on the same tracks, she had an average 17.6 finishing position. This year she has a 24.6 average, no less than seven positions worse than last year. She finished 24th in the standings last year, and ranks 25th so far this year.
Last year she finished on the lead lap in six of the eight races, this year she has done so only twice. Last year she wrecked in none of the first eight races but has wrecked twice this year. Crashing out of 25% of your races is not going to put you high in the standings.
Last year she finished a total of four laps off the lead lap, this year her total is almost twice that, finishing a total of seven laps behind the leaders.
She was inside the top ten twice last year, a 7th place finish and a 9th; this year she has no top tens, with a best finish of 16th at Martinsville. In six of the eight races she finished worse than she did last year. At Phoenix she finished better by position, but was on the lead lap last year and a lap down this year.
I’m not sure what part of all that constitutes “getting better all the time.”