Danica Patrick was involved in a late-race accident and finished a disappointing 37th in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
All three cars slid up and made contact with the SAFER Barrier on the outside retaining wall.
Patrick’s car suffered damage that couldn’t be repaired in a timely fashion, so her day was over after completing 237 laps.
“What it felt like was either I misjudged the braking or everyone jammed up a little bit,” Patrick said. “I got sideways trying to slow down so that I didn’t drive up into the back of anyone. I just got sideways and there is nothing you can do. The worst part is that you know, obviously, I didn’t want to take anybody with me. I feel bad. What can I say? We were having a reasonable race and just didn’t mean to do it.”
It was a tough ending for Patrick, who rallied from a lap down and a spin earlier in the race to put herself in position for a respectable finish in just her 29th Sprint Cup Series start and her first at New Hampshire.
Patrick’s teammate, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, finished 26th after leading once for 84 laps. Unfortunately, Stewart ran out of fuel on a lap-301 restart while running in second place. Stewart was passed for the lead by eventual winner Brian Vickers with 16 laps remaining.
The third member of SHR, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet for SHR, finished 39th after being involved in an accident on lap 226 with Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne. Like Patrick’s machine, Newman’s car was too damaged to continue.
Vickers won the Camping World RV Sales 301 to score his third career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at New Hampshire.
Kyle Busch finished .582 of a second behind Vickers in the runner-up spot while Jeff Burton, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-five. Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kenseth and Jeff Gordon comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 12 caution periods for 58 laps, with six drivers failing to finish the 302-lap race, which was extended one lap by a green-white-checkered finish.
With round 19 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He dropped three spots to 13th and has 518 points, 178 back of series leader Johnson and five points behind 10th-place Kahne. Newman also dropped three spots and is 19th in the standings. He has 487 points, 209 out of first and 36 behind 10th-place Kahne. Patrick dropped two spots to 27th and has 350 points, 346 behind Johnson and 173 away from Kahne.
Seven races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Truex (11th) and Stewart (13th) are the only drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory, so they hold the first and second wild-card spots, respectively.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Stenhouse, finished three spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 34th.
Sprint Cup teams will enjoy their second and final off weekend of the 2013 season before embarking on a slate of 17 consecutive races, beginning with the July 28 Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 20th running of the event begins at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.