(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Date: March 12, 2017
Event: Kobalt Tools 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 29th/36th (Accident, completed 246 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 30th (37 points, 95 out of first)
Race Winner: Martin Truex, Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Danica Patrick started 29th and finished 29th.
● The No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion dropped to the rear to start the race after the team was forced to change the gearbox following final practice on Saturday.
● Patrick pitted twice during the stage and crew chief Billy Scott tweaked the car looking to improve entry and exit with slight adjustments in both rear corners.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Patrick started 29th and finished 28th.
● The team made a long green-flag run to open the stage and Patrick climbed inside the top 20 before making a pair of pit stops late in the stage. Patrick reported the car felt better, but it remained tight on exit causing the nose to take off.
● At the conclusion of Stage 2, the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team pitted for tires, fuel and a small wedge adjustment to help balance the car through the corners for Patrick.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Patrick started 28th and finished 36th.
● She continued her rhythm from Stage 2 making consistent laps despite being two laps down to the leader early in the stage. The team needed a caution to gain back a lap, but that never came. The green-flag run continued for 58 laps before Patrick pitted for four tires and fuel making a green-flag stop on lap 224.
● Patrick spent the next 20 laps working to climb back inside the top 30 before a mechanical failure caused her to lose power on lap 250. She drove the car to the garage where the crew assessed the mechanical failure.
● Patrick earned 1 point in Sunday’s race at Las Vegas, which gives her a total of 37 points for the season thus far. She is ranked 30th in the driver point standings heading into next weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was another day where my Aspen Dental Ford team worked hard to get me better throughout the race. There late in the race, we finally got the car to a place where I think we could have got a little more racy with it, especially if we would have caught some breaks, but then it just flattened out. I just rode around the top in case something happened. Unfortunately, it did and having a teammate behind me was not ideal for the timing of it. We’ll just move on to Phoenix and see if we can keep improving.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Camping World 500k on Sunday, March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!