Danica Patrick and the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) scored a 17th-place finish in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International after battling transmission issues for much of the event.
Patrick started the race from the 22nd position and first reported trouble with the transmission as it popped out of third gear at lap eight. The issue continued throughout the race, causing the GoDaddy team to lose considerable track position each time Patrick had to shift back into the correct gear.
Crew chief Daniel Knost called Patrick to pit road during the first caution period at lap 26 for four tires and fuel. The team also made air pressure and chassis adjustments and added tape to the grille to improve the car’s handling. Patrick took the green flag at lap 28 in the 23rd position. Knost called her back to pit road for a fuel-only stop when the caution flag waved four laps later, which put her 31st for the ensuing restart at lap 35.
Patrick raced her way back into the top-25 by lap 41, and after another trip to pit road at lap 47, Patrick was scored in 13th when the caution flag waved at lap 57. Knost called for a fuel-only pit stop on the following lap to ensure the GoDaddy Chevrolet had enough fuel to make it to the end of the race. Several teams elected not to pit, so Patrick lined up in the 20th position for the lap-60 restart.
The GoDaddy Chevrolet dropped back to 22nd at lap 68 as the transmission continued to pop out of gear, but Patrick was able to work her way up to the 19th position by lap 88. In the final two laps, as cars ahead of her ran out of fuel, Patrick gained two additional spots and took the checkered flag in the 17th spot. The result marked Patrick’s highest finish at Watkins Glen as well as her career-best road course finish, besting an 18th-place effort earned at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June 2014.“The GoDaddy Chevrolet wasn’t too bad today,” Patrick said. “It wasn’t super-fast, but track position was important. Obviously at the end it came down to fuel, and we had just enough to make it. It wasn’t quite like last weekend at Pocono, but I’m sure it made for an exciting finish. That was the best qualifying and best finish at Watkins Glen for the GoDaddy team, so while it wasn’t awesome, it was something to build on.”