(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Date: April 2, 2017
Event: Martinsville 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 29th/23rd (Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 29th (77 points, 191 out of first)
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended on Lap 130):
● Danica Patrick started 29th and finished 25th.
● The No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion started the race from the 29th position after Friday’s qualifying session was cancelled and the field was set per the NASCAR rule book.
● Patrick struggled getting the car to turn in the center of the corner and went a lap down to the leader at lap 52. The team made adjustments on trips to pit road at laps 73, 110 and 126.
● The No. 10 team was the recipient of the free pass when the caution flag waved at lap 123. That put Patrick back on the lead lap to conclude Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended on Lap 260):
● Patrick started 12th and finished 20th.
● As Patrick pitted four laps before the end of Stage 1, crew chief Billy Scott called for her to not pit between stages, which put the No. 10 TaxAct Ford team in 12th to start Stage 2.
● Stage 2 ran caution free, and Patrick went down a lap to the leader at lap 218.
● Patrick reported the car was still “tight in the center” of the corner and that she had to “be careful to not get too loose in and off” as well. Scott called for tires, fuel and adjustments when the team pitted between stages.
Final Stage Recap (Ended on Lap 500):
● Patrick started 21st and finished 23rd.
● Patrick raced to put herself in position for the free pass once again when the caution flag waved at lap 288.
● The No. 10 TaxAct Ford team pitted five times throughout the final stage for tires, fuel and adjustments to help improve the car’s handling.
● Patrick was scored 13th with less than 100 laps to go. Unfortunately, contact from the No. 11 car of Denny Hamlin sent the No. 10 TaxAct Ford spinning in turn three on lap 418. Patrick lost a lap to the leader as she worked to get the car re-fired and dropped back to 24th.
● In the closing laps of the race, Patrick was only able to pick up one spot and took the checkered flag in the 23rd position.
● Patrick earned 14 points in Sunday’s race at Martinsville, which gives her a total of 77 points for the season thus far. She is ranked 29th in the driver point standings heading into next weekend’s event.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We struggled at the start of the race, but the TaxAct team did a really good job on pit road all day, and Billy made some good calls to get the car turning better. We were able to run up in the top-15, and it’s unfortunate we got turned by the No. 11 and that just took us out of contention for a great finish today.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!