GoDaddy driver continues Sprint Cup Series education
Danica Patrick finished 23rd in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was making her 33rd career Sprint Cup Series start and her second at Michigan.
After struggling with the handling of her car early and going one lap down, Patrick’s car came to life in the second half of the race thanks to a series of wedge, tire-pressure and track-bar adjustments called for by her crew chief Tony Gibson. With the car handling well, Patrick was able to secure the “lucky dog” free pass back to the lead lap on lap 136 as she was the first car one lap down when the caution came out.
“Late in the race, the car just got tight,” Patrick said. “It was really good from the halfway point until we made that last pit stop. Then it just went tight. Overall, though, the car was pretty good all weekend. We had good practices and it felt comfortable throughout the weekend. I’m proud of Tony Gibson and the GoDaddy crew. We’re making progress and getting better each weekend.”
Patrick’s SHR teammate Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans/PTA Chevrolet SS, finished 13th.
The third member of SHR, Austin Dillon, interim driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS as he subs for the injured Tony Stewart, finished 14th.
Joey Logano won the Pure Michigan 400 to score his third career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at Michigan.
Kevin Harvick finished 1.018 seconds behind Logano in the runner-up spot while Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five. Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were nine caution periods for 34 laps with six drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.
With round 23 of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He dropped one spot to 15th place and has 636 points, 177 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 27 behind 10th-place Biffle. Stewart, who was forced to miss the race due to injury, dropped one spot to 18th, 594 out of first and 219 points behind Biffle. Patrick remained in 27th place and has 418 points, 395 behind Johnson and 245 away from 10th.
The No. 14 team is 13th in the owner standings with 653 points, 160 points behind the series-leading No. 48 team of Hendrick Motorsports.
Three 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.
Kasey Kahne, who is 11th in points, is the first wild card via his two wins. Martin Truex Jr. holds the second wild-card spot as he is 12th in points with one victory. Logano, Newman, and Stewart each have one victory and are 13th, 15th, and 18th in points, respectively.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished four spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 19th.