Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 20th in the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Patrick, who started 35th, overcame an incident on pit road early in the race which caused minimal damage to her racecar and dropped her to as low as 38th in the running order. Patrick was entering her pit stall under caution at lap 26 when she was tagged in the left-rear fender by Paul Menard, who was exiting his stall. The contact turned Patrick, facing the wrong way on pit road. So her crew improvised and changed her right-side tires while she was backward in her pit box. Patrick then turned around on pit road and returned to the racetrack. She came to pit road a second time for left-side tires and to repair the minimal damage to the car’s left-rear fender before restarting the race at lap 30.

Despite that rocky start, Patrick and her GoDaddy team didn’t give up. Patrick battled through a tight-handling condition early in the running of the race, but her feedback and her team’s adjustments at each stop helped improve the handling of the GoDaddy Chevrolet throughout the course of the race. Despite having a good handling and quick race car as the night wore on, Patrick couldn’t make up the track position and finished 20th.

“We didn’t have a great starting spot with our GoDaddy Chevy, and as always at these mile-and-a-halfs, track position is really important just because how tough it is to run in traffic and as a result pass,” said Patrick, who made her 41st Sprint Cup start and her third at Charlotte. “It really was just a little tight the first couple of runs and then man, I don’t know what else we could have done to fix the balance. All we needed really was track position and more yellows so we could get back on the lead lap. The team did a really great job of working through practices, and my pit crew did an awesome job of getting me out in record time. I’m just really proud of this team because we made improvements all night, and I’m glad that we were able to have a solid run with this pink car and help GoDaddy and .ORG promote breast cancer awareness this month. I think in the end, we just needed track position.”

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished seven spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 13th. Patrick remains 28th in the point standings and has 554 points.

Patrick’s teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, finished eighth. The third member of SHR, Mark Martin, interim driver of SHR’s No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS as he subs for the injured Tony Stewart, finished 42nd.

Brad Keselowski won the Bank of America 500 to score his 10th career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at Charlotte.

Kasey Kahne finished 1.022 seconds behind Keselowski in the runner-up spot, while Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five. Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Newman, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were four caution periods for 20 laps, with seven drivers failing to finish.

Newman is representing SHR in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and entered the fifth race of the 10-race Chase 12th among the 13 Chase drivers, 73 points behind Chase leader Kenseth. Newman leaves Charlotte still in 12th, 78 points behind Kenseth.

TSC