Patrick has limited night in Sprint Unlimited

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GoDaddy driver finishes disappointing 16th after midrace accident

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was caught in a multicar accident and finished a disappointing 16th in the Sprint Unlimited Saturday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Patrick, who ran as high as fourth in the early part of the event, was involved in a lap 35 accident along with Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and her SHR teammates Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch. The accident began with the cars ahead of Patrick, and she went low on the track and into the infield grass to try to avoid the crash. By doing so, she lost control of the car and spun before being hit by Stenhouse’s car.

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

Photo by: Covy Moore

“I didn’t know how far they (the cars in front) were going to come down or go up,” Patrick said. “You just don’t know how the accident is going to keep unfolding, so I just went as low as I could. I thought I would end up just going straight through the grass, but I don’t know if it is just a little bit of a dropoff or if it’s wet, but it just hooked on it and spun around. I was sitting there and pretty much just about stopped, and then I got hit and that was it.

“Ricky (Stenhouse) said his hood was up so he couldn't see anything, which is a bummer because I was pretty much just going to need four tires. It was a real bummer, because I was having fun and I felt like I was really learning a lot. It was good to run with those guys. It would have been nice to get it to the end for the experience and for GoDaddy.”

The Sprint Unlimited is a non-points exhibition race featuring drivers who won a pole during the 2013 season, as well as past winners of the Sprint Unlimited. Patrick earned her way in by winning the pole for last year’s Daytona 500.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the way for SHR by finishing fifth. It was Harvick’s sixth top-five finish in 10 career Sprint Unlimited starts. He won the event in 2009, 2010 and 2013 and was the only SHR driver to finish the 75-lap race.

Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, was credited with an 11th-place finish. He earned his way into the race by being a three-time winner of the Sprint Unlimited (2001, 2002 and 2007).

Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished 14th. He won the Sprint Unlimited in 2011.

Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Unlimited. It was his second win in the non-points race, with his first victory coming in 2006.

Brad Keselowski finished .197 of a second behind Hamlin in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Harvick rounded out the top-five. Jamie McMurray, Marcos Ambrose, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were five caution periods for 13 laps, with 10 drivers failing to finish.

Next up for SHR is qualifying for the 56th Daytona 500, where Stewart, Patrick, Harvick and Busch will be among 49 drivers going for the pole.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race reports
Tags carl edwards, chevrolet ss, danica patrick, daytona, jeff gordon, kurt busch, matt kenseth, ricky stenhouse jr, sprint unlimited, stewart-haas racing, tony stewart