Danica Patrick’s 100th start in NASCAR's top touring series ended in disaster and before it even began Sunday at Kansas Speedway. After starting 29th, Patrick had a great deal of confidence after looking strong during the practice sessions leading up the Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.
As it turned out, none of that mattered.
Patrick entered turn one on the first lap and began to drift up to the center lane. Suddenly her Stewart-Haas Chevy broke loose and careened into the outside wall collecting David Reutimann in the process. Patrick was done for the day.
“I knew that going into the race based on practice and everything we’ve seen from practice in Cup to the Nationwide race, that losing grip was going to be not that hard to do,” Patrick told Examiner referring to the combination of a new tire compound by Goodyear and cool temperatures. “I said that before the race even; I said make sure that we’re on top of who is on my door and who is behind me. And I knew all that was going to be happening on the start.”
“I had enough momentum to go to the middle because I got a run on the car in front of me,” she added. “But I had to wait past the Start/Finish line. I lifted going into Turn 1 and all I can say is that you know, I didn’t try and do anything. I just found myself sideways in the middle of the corner and that was it.”
“Either I drove into hard or the air is just that challenging or we were a little loose,” she said. “I don’t know. I didn’t even have my front bead blowers on yet just trying to build heat in the front tires. “
Patrick was scored 43rd the last car in the field.
“It’s just a shame because we were having a better weekend,” Patrick said. “Yesterday was a pretty good day for us. We felt really confident today that we were going to be able to have a good day. My pit road crew is so good I knew that was going to be something to look forward to. I’m really sorry. I’m really bummed. I just was looking forward to having a good day and it’s over within a matter of feet.”