The fans spoke loud and clear according to Miss Sprint Cup last Saturday and voted Rookie Danica Patrick into the Sprint All-Star Race.
Patrick attempted to race her way in to the Sprint All-Star Race via the Sprint Showdown but came up short when she finished 9th to race winner Jamie McMurray and runner up Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Although the fan vote winner wasn’t announced until the very end of drivers’ introductions, it was clear Patrick was the winner, and that left many very unhappy.
When Patrick’s name was called and she and her pit crew came up on stage, there was an audible mix of both cheering and boos, enough so to garner quite a few responses from members of the media. The cheers were definitely louder than the boos but they were still very noticeable. The question that was brought up was that has Patrick begun to run her course in the Sprint Cup Series without consistently finishing in the top-15? That is up to the individual asking.
Patrick’s car was near perfect during the Sprint Unlimited race but sometime between the end and then the start of the Sprint All-Star Race, something changed. Patrick ended up fighting a severely tight racecar all night that even had Crew Chief Tony Gibson perplexed.
“We were just too tight,” she said. “The guys did a great job on pit road. That goes without saying. It was just a tough night, but hopefully we are able to figure out what was wrong, and we can come back here next weekend and have a better run.”
“The car was pretty good the first race, and the second race I don’t know what happened,” Gibson said in a press release after the race. “It was plowing tight from the very first lap on, and we couldn’t get it fixed. We slung everything I know to sling at it. Maybe we had a bump stop or a shock give up on it, but I just don’t know right now. Everybody dug all night long and we stayed in the game, and that’s all you can do. It’s frustrating because you don’t know what happened. We’ll try to figure out what we’ve got.
During her press conference after it was announced that she was the fan vote winner, Patrick made it a point to thank her fans. Her crew even surprised her with a special decal for her car that said “Thanks Fans”
“First and very foremost, thank you to all the fans who voted for me or maybe voted so many times for me,” Patrick said. “I’m very fortunate to have the fan base that I do, and I never forget that. It really just makes me feel bad to win the Sprint Fan Vote and run in the back of the race. We just couldn’t get the GoDaddy Cares Chevrolet right.
Patrick took to Twitter after the race thanking her fans again saying, “I am so fortunate to have all you great fans that voted me into the all-star race. Thank you. I really wish I could of made you more proud.” The outpouring of support to Patrick was undeniable; her fans will stick with her no matter what.
Patrick and the GoDaddy Crew got to spend another weekend at home as the series prepares for its longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600. Patrick was on hand all week doing various promotions for her sponsors including a Q&A session at Academy Sports, a commercial shoot for GoDaddy and various fan events for Coca-Cola.
As she gears up for her second run in the Coca-Cola 600, there is one other thing on Patrick’s mind; Indy. Patrick made her name in the Indy 500 by becoming the first woman to lead laps and holds the highest finish for a woman at 3rd. This will mark Patrick’s second year watching the Indy 500 from her motorhome instead of being out on the track.
Will she ever pull the double and try both races on the same day? According to Patrick, it isn’t out of the question. In fact, the talk about doing it this season was strong but ultimately, Patrick decided to focus solely on NASCAR and the Coca-Cola 600, but don’t rule it out in the future.
Memorial Day weekend is one of the best of the year. School is out for the summer, two of the best races in the world bring together the best drivers in the world, and most importantly, it’s a time to celebrate all of those who have served or who are serving in out nations military.
So start off your Sunday morning with the Indianapolis 500 then finish your night with the Coca-Cola 600. An entire day dedicated to the best racing in the country, what more could a race fan ask for?