|Date: June 4, 2017
Event: AAA 400 Drive for Autism (Round 13 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three segments (120 laps/120 laps/160 laps)
Start/Finish: 31st/10th (Running, completed 406 of 406 laps)
Point Standings: 30th (154 points, 391 out of first)
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports in overtime (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended on lap 120):
● Danica Patrick started 31st and finished 21st.
● The No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team gained ground in the first stage of the race as Patrick reported a tight-handling condition.
● The team pitted four times during Stage 1 for tires, fuel and wedge, air pressure and packer adjustments. A number of teams stayed out when the caution flag waved to end the stage, which dropped Patrick back to 29th to start Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended on lap 240):
● Patrick started 29th and finished 21st.
● At lap 146, Patrick brought out the caution flag as the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford spun in turns three and four. Crew chief Billy Scott called Patrick to pit road for fresh tires and fuel the following lap.
● Patrick went a lap down to the leader on the subsequent long, green-flag run. When the caution flag waved again at lap 193, Scott called for Patrick to remain on track and take the wave-around to get back on the lead lap.
● On the following run, Patrick once again went a lap down to the leader. Two laps later the caution flag waved, and Patrick was the recipient of the Lucky Dog award, putting her back on the lead lap. She reported to the team that the car was “a five out of five loose,” so Scott called for air pressure and wedge adjustments and had the team pull tape off the grille in an effort to improve the car’s handling. She finished the stage in the 21st position.
Final Stage Recap (Ended on lap 400):
● Patrick started 19th and finished 10th.
● The No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team pitted under caution at lap 265 for fuel and tires. The crew also made repairs to the car’s left-rear quarterpanel that was damaged by contact from another car on the run prior to the stop.
● Patrick went a lap down to the leader at lap 310, but the team caught a break as the caution flag waved in the midst of green-flag pit stops at lap 329. Patrick had yet to stop, so she was scored in the eighth position on the lead lap when the caution flag waved. The team changed tires, added fuel and made additional repairs to the left-rear quarterpanel during the caution period.
● Patrick dropped as low as 16th in the final portion of the race. A late caution sent the event into overtime. Patrick lined up in the 15th spot for the restart and, despite sustaining damage on the white-flag lap, was able to take the checkered flag in the 10th position.
● Patrick earned 27 points in Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway, which puts her at 154 total points for the season thus far. She is ranked 30th in the driver point standings.
● Patrick’s result marked her career-best finish at Dover. Her previous top finish at the track was a 13th-place result in May 2016.
● Sunday’s 10th-place finish marked Patrick’s first top-10 of the 2017 season. It was also her first top-10 result since she finished ninth at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in April 2015.
● Patrick’s finish at Dover extends her record for most top-10 finishes by a female in NASCAR Cup Series competition to seven.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a good day for us. We got a bit lucky with staying out at the right time and catching the yellow flags. It’s the stuff that hasn’t been happening for us all year, and it’s just nice to catch some breaks today. We weren’t the fastest car today, and I’m not sure we were a top-10 car, but a lot of times we have had a 10th-place car and weren’t able to get the finish we needed. I’ll take the lucky days anytime I can, because there have been plenty of times where it went the other way.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!