Danica Patrick Crashes During Practice, Finishes 18th in Bristol
Friday’s practice at Bristol Motor Speedway was quite a bumpy start for NASCAR driver Danica Patrick.
Only a few minutes into the practice run, the 31-year-old’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet crashed into Parker Kligerman’s No. 30 Swan Racing Toyota.
Following the collision, Kligerman’s team attempted to fix his car while Patrick returned to the race track in a backup Chevrolet.
However, she wasn’t the only driver who crashed and had to resort to a backup car.
Justin Allgaier’s soon found himself collided with the wall. Kyle Busch’s wreck followed the same scenario. Both were forced to use backup cars.
Greg Biffle also went to a backup when he crashed only a half-an-hour later on the front chute.
NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin sat out and watched the first 15 minutes of practice.
According to ESPN, he told the Associated Press that the wrecks were probably due to “Goodyear’s tire compound producing faster speeds” mixed with highly accelerated embankments on the 0.533-mile track.
“It’s just the speeds are so much higher than we’ve seen,” he said. “It takes a little getting used to. We are all out there fighting for a tenth of a second, a hundredth of a second at Bristol. I think it comes more from us pushing the edge than it is treacherous.
Two other drivers, Matt Kenseth and Rick Stenhouse Jr., both scraped the wall towards the end of the session, but didn’t incur major damages.
Five-time Bristol winner Kurt Busch ultimately had the best practice time.
The clip below shows Patrick’s crash during the Bristol practice:
Unfortunately, Patrick’s bad luck just didn’t stop there.
During Sunday’s icy and rainy race, Patrick, who started at 36th, only had 50 laps left when she decided to exit on the pit road.
Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota was two stalls ahead of Patrick. As she departed the pit, Patrick hit the acceleration and her vehicle headed towards the right rear side of her opponent’s car.
“I only had fourth gear, so that’s why I hit Clint in the pits,” Patrick said, according to ESPNW. “I hit Clint in the pits. It wouldn’t go. I dipped the clutch and it got sideways, and when it caught it went straight and it wouldn’t stop.”
Fortunately, Patrick hit the breaks in enough time to not cause as much damage, something she says would have been a “shame” if they had to restart or go back to pit.
She later said: “I have days where not a single thing goes wrong, but I finish 30th, so on a night like tonight where about everything went wrong, I’ll take it.”
Although this past weekend was pretty rough for Patrick, she finished 18th in the Food City 500.
Image via Wikimedia Commons