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Danica Patrick scores top-15 finish at Fontana NASCAR race

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy/Get Found Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), posted her best finish of the season Sunday in the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway at Fontana. Patrick finished 14th at the California NASCAR track.

Danica Patrick photos from season-best finish at Fontana
Danica Patrick photos from season-best finish at FontanaPhoto by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com / Get Found Chevrolet, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Ford EcoBoost Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, talk on pit road prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400.
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com / Get Found Chevrolet, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Ford EcoBoost Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, talk on pit road prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400.Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Several teams experienced tire issues and Patrick overcame a flat left front tire late in the race and survived a green-white-checkered restart to score her first top-15 of the 2014 season.

“It seems like some of our most trying weekends end up with our better results, so we’ll take it and we’ll know that there is so much more potential for those weekends where we feel like we are running a lot better,” Patrick said. “It was a steady race. My hope was that our GoDaddy/Get Found Chevrolet was close on the first run, so I knew we could make it better. It is always so difficult when you start off in the beginning, and it really wasn’t too bad to start off with today. I think that’s usually the common denominator in us having a good race is just that first run – the car being there.

“It was, so we just made little adjustments here and there, and I don’t think we were extremely fast, but we were fast enough to pick them off and move up and have a steady day. That is what we did. It’s nice when you get fortunate and lucky and your best running position on track happens to be the last lap, so I will take it.”

Patrick, who started 27th, battled a tight-handling racecar early in the race, but by halfway she had settled into a spot in the top-20. At lap 139, however, she was forced to pit for a flat left front tire, which she believes may have been caused when her car ran over debris.

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car SHR contingent by finishing third to score his first top-five of the 2014 season. Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished fifth and Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for SHR, started fourth and finished 36th.

Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400 and rookie driver Kyle Larson finished in the runner-up spot. Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Stewart rounded out the top-five. Jamie McMurray, Brian Vickers, A.J. Allmendinger, Paul Menard and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.