Danica Patrick weaved her way through two late-race accidents and finished a respectable 20th in the 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was making her 32nd career Sprint Cup Series start and her first at Watkins Glen.
“I think at the end of the day, there was a lot going on, especially at the end,” Patrick said. “Really just trying to finish and really just trying to not get frustrated, no matter what is going on out there, and just taking what the car will give you. So I just tried to stay calm and stay focused on not making any mistakes. It was really easy to make mistakes out there, and we worked on the car, and I feel like we have a direction for next time. We didn’t nail it today, that is for sure, but I think we made gains, for sure, from the beginning of practice until the end of the race. It’s just a matter of using that for next time and getting better.”
Twice in the closing laps, Patrick managed to avoid multi-car accidents in front of her which could have resulted in a damaged racecar and a poor finish for her and the GoDaddy team.
“The spotters did a great job today,” Patrick said. “It’s so tough sometimes to see what’s going on ahead of you on a road course, but they kept me aware and kept me out of trouble, especially at the end. I’m proud of the entire GoDaddy team.”
Patrick’s SHR teammate Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation 30th Anniversary Chevrolet SS, finished 14th to score his seventh top-15 finish in 12 career starts at Watkins Glen.
Max Papis, interim driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS as he substitutes for the injured Tony Stewart, finished 15th. It was his second top-15 finish in four career Sprint Cup starts at Watkins Glen.
Kyle Busch won the 355k at The Glen to score his 27th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his second career win at Watkins Glen.
Brad Keselowski finished .486 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top-five. Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and AJ Allmendinger comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were eight caution periods for 21 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 90-lap race.
With round 22 of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He moved up one spot to 14th place and has 605 points, 203 back of series leader Johnson and 20 behind 10th-place Truex. Stewart, who was forced to miss the race due to injury, dropped six spots to 17th with 594 points, 214 out of first and 31 points behind Truex. Patrick maintained her 27th-place standing and has 397 points, 411 behind Johnson and 228 away from 10th.
The No. 14 team is 11th in the owner standings with 623 points, 185 points behind the series-leading No. 48 team of Hendrick Motorsports.
Four races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. If multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Kasey Kahne, who is 12th in points, is the first wild card via his two wins, while Newman is the second wild card because he is the highest-standing driver between 11th and 20th with one victory.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished two spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 18th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 18 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.
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