Danica Patrick stars in Daytona NASCAR Nationwide race

Danica Patrick said she enjoyed Friday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona, where despite a last-lap crash she was classified 10th, having led the event

Danica Patrick stars in Daytona NASCAR Nationwide race

The IndyCar star, who looks likely to make a full-time move to NASCAR next year, was among the leading contenders for victory in the 100-lap event, where she led 13 laps while being up front five different times.

Patrick seemed to master the two-car drafting technique in what was her fourth Nationwide Series race at the 2.5-mile venue.

Starting from seventh on the grid she initially worked in tandem with two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, who pushed her to the lead for the first time in the evening, taking three laps at the front of the field.

After that she switched partners to her JR Motorsports team-mate Aric Almirola, with whom she had mostly worked with during practice. Their tandem gained enough momentum to allow her to grab the lead again, the last time with just four laps remaining.

On the final two laps as the battle heated up at the front, her tandem got shuffled back among the top 10 and while trying to charge through again she ended up brushing the wall and losing momentum for the decisive final run for the win.

As she battled behind the leaders for a good finish, she ended up making contact with Mike Wallace after being tapped from behind by team-mate Almirola, triggering a multi-car incident as they were approaching the chequered flag.

"People were just taking smaller gaps and I was one of them too," said Patrick. "The whole right side of my car is flat... there was a little bit of room to the outside of Elliott [Sadler] and Tony left a lane but Elliott was a little bit to the right of him. Coming up to him there was a little less room, therefore I had to squeeze my way through.

"That is what is was like, momentum runs. You've got to time it just right to take the lead at the right time and not too early and I understood that. But on the other hand if you back off other people are getting runs on you so you have to be careful that you don't drop too far and you're just dealing with more cars spread out the track, which is when things like that happen.

"It was just a bit of a mess at the end but it doesn't change the fact that I had a lot of fun. It was really good to run up front and lead laps for real. Not just I got pushed to the front for one lap and one straightaway. I led a lot of laps and I went to the front a lot. So that was a good feeling."

Patrick's good run came on the same day as her sponsor GoDaddy.com announced the company had been bought by a group of private equity firms for a reported US $2.25 billion.

Her next Nationwide Series outing will come at the end of August, in what will be her first road course outing in NASCAR at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

shares
comments
Mark Martin takes 50th pole of his career at Daytona

Previous article

Mark Martin takes 50th pole of his career at Daytona

Next article

David Ragan takes maiden NASCAR Sprint Cup win amid Daytona crash fest

David Ragan takes maiden NASCAR Sprint Cup win amid Daytona crash fest
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021