Unfortunately for Danica Patrick, her Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career ended the same way it began – with a wreck in the Daytona 500.
Sunday’s 500 was Patrick’s last scheduled NASCAR event and the only other race in her motorsports career will be the Indianapolis 500 in May.
Patrick, 35, debuted in the Cup series in the 2012 Daytona 500 and got caught up in a wreck on Lap 2 of the event. She was running at the finish and ended up 38th.
That was not the case Sunday.
Patrick, driving the No. 7 Chevrolet for Premium Motorsports, never contended for the lead but had remained out of trouble until she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on Lap 102.
“The car was a lot better than it was in the Duel; a lot better than in practice. Tony Eury Jr., my crew chief, did an awesome job. The guys – the whole team – did a really good job,” Patrick said outside the infield care center.
“I know we pulled this together not that long ago – a month ago – that’s a tall order to get a car ready for a superspeedway that’s competitive. But it was. I said earlier today that I feel like the whole thing was picture perfect with GoDaddy on the car and it being that green again.
“But it just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Patrick’s team did not have a backup car, which led to her picking and choosing her moments to race competitively in Thursday night’s qualifying race to ensure her No. 7 Chevrolet would remain intact for the 500.
In Sunday’s race, Patrick said she didn’t have the fastest car but felt she could be competitive.
“Not the fastest car, it was definitely lethargic getting up to speed on the starts and when we checked up, but other than that it ran really well,” she said.
“I’m just sad that it ended that way.”
Patrick concludes her NASCAR Cup series career with seven top-10 starts in 191 career starts. She is the first woman to win a pole in the Cup series and the first to lead laps in both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.