Can the luck of the Irish help out Danica Patrick this weekend at Bristol? With the way her last two weeks have gone, I surely hope so.
She came off of Daytona with a burst of confidence and a top-10 finish but then it seemed like her luck went sour in Phoenix when she retired from the race thanks to a blown right front tire. Las Vegas, the sight of her 2011 4th place finish in the Nationwide Series, was looking like it could be a good track for Patrick but it seemed like her car had different ideas.
Battling a loose racecar all weekend, you could see the frustration in her eyes as she climbed out of her car on pit lane after the race. She finished 33rd and 6 laps down from the race winner Matt Kenseth.
“It was a real tough day, no doubt,” Patrick said after the race. “We know we’re going to have tough days, but this is not the kind of tough day we thought about. … We all are definitely a little somber and a lot disappointed.”
Crew Chief Tony Gibson could be heard on the radio throughout the race trying to calm his worried driver. It seemed like there was nothing that he could do that would fix her car. She often complained about it being so loose on the front stretch that she could easily spin out.
“I was extremely loose the whole time,” she said. “We made it a little bit better, sort of, in the middle of the race to where it would go for about half the run. But by the end of every run, I found myself very, very loose again.”
A loose racecar wasn’t the only thing Patrick had to worry about in Sin City. She hit the wall hard back in Phoenix which left her with a head and neck ache the next day. She and boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr took a road trip together and drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas, stopping at the Hoover Dam along the way. While in Vegas, Stenhouse took her to the dirt track to watch his team race and she took another blow to the head, this time with a rock, and it took her to the ground.
“I feel like I have a concussion from last night,” she said during her media availability at Las Vegas on Friday. “It’s really sore. It hit me straight in the head. Good thing I had a hat on, or I feel like there would have been blood.”
Maybe she needs to stay away from the dirt tracks for a while, or at least stay in the stands!
Hopefully with the Luck of the Irish on her side this weekend, Patrick can have a good showing at Bristol. She was running on the lead lap and in the top-20 during the Irwin Tools Night Race last season before getting punted on lap 435. Remember the famous finger was she gave Regan Smith? Bristol seems to play well into her strengths with the high banking and the high speeds and all we have to do now is wait and see what happens on Sunday.