Danica Patrick finally had a race she could smile about. Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway Patrick came home with her third top 10 finish of the season; a career best 6th. On a final restart Patrick restarted 4th but couldn’t press the issue for a win. Instead, she held on through a chaotic final two laps to earn the respectable finish.
Patrick started 27th and fell a lap down at one point. Her Stewart-Haas Racing crew led by Tony Gibson worked on the No. 10 Chevy making adjustments that combined with good strategy got Patrick back on the lead lap and inside the top 10. It made for a tough race in the late summer heat however.
“It was a long night,” Patrick said. “Man, that race felt like it was 700 miles. Sometimes when you are running well they feel like that because you are hoping it stays there, keeps going well, and you keep improving and don’t lose it. There were definitely a couple of times late in the race when we fell back. In the middle of the race the car was very good. We took a little step back, and then it came back in the end. Tony Gibson just reset everything to where we were when we were running well. “
Part of her success came on the final pit stop when the crew was able to get Patrick out ahead of some of the frontrunners.
“Obviously the pit stop at the end that was 11 seconds was so good,” she said. “There were a couple of rough ones in the beginning but that one made up for it because it put us seventh on that restart and we had a good line on the inside and didn’t get caught up on the outside. I am just so happy for the team. “
With her career best finish behind her, Sunday night Patrick was already thinking ahead to next week.
“We have had pretty fast cars for quite a while now and not really great finishes for it,” Patrick said. “I have sucked at Richmond every time so I sure hope I can run well at Richmond now.”