Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), saw her night end early at the track “Too Tough to Tame” after making significant contact with the wall in Sunday’s Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
Patrick qualified 30th but had to start the event from the rear of the field after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying session forced the team to the backup car. She worked her way into the top-30 by lap 33 and was scored as high as 15th before falling two laps down to the leader after a green-flag pit stop at lap 101.
When the caution flag waved at lap 108, crew chief Daniel Knost called for Patrick to stay out and take the wave-around in order to get one of the laps back. She restarted in the 30th position at lap 114 and worked to put herself in contention for the “lucky dog” award. Her hard efforts were rewarded when, as the caution flag waved at lap 132, she was in position for the lucky dog and returned to the lead lap. The team then pitted for four tires and fuel, and she restarted in the 28th position at lap 138.
Patrick worked her way up to 23rd before the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet made significant contact with the outside wall at lap 187. Patrick carefully made her way to pit road for the team to evaluate the damage; following an initial assessment, Knost called for her to drive the car back to the garage for repairs.
After extensive repairs, Patrick returned to the track at lap 261. Three laps later, Patrick made contact with the wall once again. Upon inspection back in the garage, the team found that something had broken the inner valve spring on the right-front tire. Once again, the team assessed the car and determined the damage was too significant to continue, thus relegating Patrick to a 42nd-place finish.“I didn’t feel out of control out there,” Patrick said. “I felt like I was in a pretty decent rhythm. It snapped pretty hard in (turn) four. So, I don’t know, I mean they said it looked like it snapped pretty hard. I’m not 100 percent sure. It could have just gotten loose, but it could have been a cut tire, too. It’s a bummer. We fought our way back to the lead lap, and I feel like we were in a position to have a decent end to the day.”