Danica’s second trip to the Lady in Black, otherwise known as Darlington Raceway, didn’t go exactly how she and her team had hoped. This marked Patrick’s second start at NASCAR toughest track after she made her inaugural appearance there last season as one of her 10 scheduled Sprint Cup Series races.
After hitting the wall in the middle of the first practice session that put her in a back-up car, Patrick and her team struggled to find the right set up in time for qualifying. Starting 40th for Saturday’s race, Patrick reported a tight-handling racecar but with only one caution flag in the first 303 laps, it left little time for the team to make adjustments.
“Those long green flag runs just killed us,” Patrick said in a press release after the race. “It’s tough because you get behind, and it’s hard to get caught back up when the pace is that fast and there are so little yellows at the beginning. We had a setback in practice, and that cut into our practice time and because of that we didn’t get to make any qualifying runs, which led us to going out cold in qualifying, which is not a strength of mine anyway. So it was just a tough weekend. Nothing is wasted. No run or no lap is wasted, but sometimes the fruits of your labor aren’t realized until later on.”
Despite her 28th place finish, her Crew Chief Tony Gibson was pleased with her efforts.
She did a really nice job. Probably about halfway through the race, it kind of clicked, and she started running some really good lap times,” he said. “She picked up on a few things following other guys, so our progress I thought went really good. The goal coming in here was to run all the laps, and if we can’t run them all, run as many as we can. Learn, then go home and digest all that and put it in our notebook and build off that, and that’s exactly what we did. She gave great feedback, and we made the adjustments, and it showed in the lap times. The pit stops were really, really good, and Danica did a good job. We learned a lot, and we’ll build on it for the next one.”
The team is off this weekend as they don’t have to worry about running for points but they still have a race to prepare for. Patrick is scheduled to run in the Sprint Showdown, a race that lets drivers who haven’t qualified for the Sprint All-Star Race a chance to race their way in. If she doesn’t finish in the top two positions, she can still rely on the fan vote as a way to get into the big show.
There are two ways to vote for Danica Patrick to get her into the All-Star Race: Online and by the NASCAR Mobile 13 App. GoDaddy, Patrick’s primary sponsor, is donating money to three notable charities this season through their foundation, GoDaddy Cares, which will be featured on Patrick’s car this weekend. Those three charities are:
Hope for Haiti: Hope for Haiti is a Naples, Fla.-based charitable organization operating in Port-au-Prince and out of Les Cayes in the south of Haiti. Serving in the most remote areas, Hope for Haiti’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the Haitian people, particularly children, through education, nutrition, and health care. For more than 20 years, the organization has been working in partnership with the Haitian people to connect, heal, and empower communities on the path toward sustainability.
National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF): The National Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1991 by breast cancer survivor Janelle Hail. NBCF continues to grow every year to help more and more women around the world by educating them about breast cancer and providing free mammograms to women in need.
VEX Robotics / REC Foundation: The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation (REC) seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the United States and internationally.
If you want to see Danica Patrick in the All-Star Race, then click here to vote online or check out the NASCAR Mobile 13 App where each vote casted counts twice and catch her in the Sprint Showdown Saturday night. The Fan Vote closes at 5pm ET on May 18th.