NASCAR

Danica Tracker: career-best performance

Danica Patrick (Getty Images)
Danica had a career-best performance at Daytona.
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.

It's a new beginning for Danica Patrick as she starts Year 2 of her NASCAR adventure at Daytona International Speedway.

How did the superstar driver perform? Relive today's Drive4COPD 300 Nationwide Series race.


Lap 120 - CHECKERED FLAG: Tony Stewart makes pass for the win AT THE LINE! Danica finishes 14th for best career finish! Exciting finish.

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Prerace coverage from Kansas begins June 5 at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

 

Lap 119 - WHITE FLAG: Bowyer leads, Junior right behind him. Danica in 15th.

Lap 118: Clint Bowyer leads! Danica drops to 17th.

Lap 117: Kyle Busch leads but still a six-car fight up front. Danica now the best car one lap down in 13th.

Lap 116: Six car pack up front fighting for win - Danica back up to 14th.

Lap 115: Danica drops one spot to 15th.

RESTART - Lap 114 - Six laps left: Clint Bowyer leads, Dale Jr.  second and Michael Waltrip right behind him. Danica Patrick restarts 14th, one lap down.

Lap 113: NASCAR sees more debris and cars will run at least one more lap under caution.

3:41 p.m. ET - Red Flag LIFTED: Cars are rolling again. Danica is 14th, one lap down.

3:34 p.m. ET - RED FLAG: NASCAR has stopped cars on the backstretch in order to finish clean up.

Correction: Restart scheduled for Lap 111 was just waved off.

Tough luck for the defending Nationwide Series champion, who was running at the end of his last 102 starts in this series.

CAUTION - Lap 105: Big crash for Brad Keselowski and Danica Patrick almost gets hit hard! Keselowski got hit entering the tri-oval and he spun through the frontstretch grass, sliding up right at the start/finish line and just behind Danica's No. 7 Chevrolet. Unfortunately, Keselowski got slammed into by Josh Wise - who had nowhere to go.

RESTART - Lap 104: Kyle Busch leads. Danica running 14th.

CAUTION - Lap 100: Debris on the racetrack. Danica Patrick is 13th, one lap down.

Lap 99: Danica Patrick in for her green flag pit stop. She takes just gas - no tires. She'll be good to go the rest of the way.

Lap 96: Teams begin green-flag pit stops.

Lap 91: Danica's best career finish of 19th came in the 2010 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. She looks very capable of bettering that mark today.

Lap 88: As we reach the 75% mark of this race, it is worth noting that even with her lack of drafting help after the problem she had helping Clint Bowyer, Danica has done really well today. She's running 16th and has shown flashes of competitiveness.

Lap 82: Danica has dropped to the rear of her cluster of cars - she's down to 17th.

Lap 73: Danica staying 10th. She's been consistent today - even with her struggles with the draft at times.

Daytona photos

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Couldn’t make it to Daytona for Speedweeks? CHECK OUT THE BEST PHOTOS HERE

Lap 66: Flat left rear tire for Trevor Bayne, who was second and been running up front all day. Danica moves up a spot to eighth.

Lap 64: Danica breaks into top 10 again - she's 9th.

RESTART - Lap 59: Danica restarts 12th. Her team owner/teammate Dale Jr. restarts 19th.

Lap 58: Dale Earnhardt Jr. penalized for equipment being outside his pit box. He serves a drive-thru penalty for that and will restart near tail end of field.

Lap 57: Leaders pit. Danica Patrick gets four tires and packs it with fuel. She loses A LOT of positions, but several other teams came in for just two tires.

CAUTION - Lap 55: Sam Hornish Jr. spins coming off Turn 4 to bring out the yellow. Single-car incident.

Lap 54: Very funny conversation on the radio seconds ago - Tony Stewart's Spotter Bob Jeffrey asks "Do you want a girl to take to the dance today?" | Stewart: "WHAT?" | Jeffrey: "Do you want a girl to dance with at the prom?"
| Stewart: "I already have a big blonde on (Bowyer) in front of me."

Lap 53: Danica settles into 12th. Leaders have checked out on field. Trevor Bayne has a 14 second gap on fifth-place Clint Bowyer.

Lap 46: Danica now P13 - 16 seconds off pace. Top four cars have a 13 second lead on field.

Lap 43: Radio chatter - Danica "You need to clear me when I can get in line"

Lap 42: Radio chatter - Danica: "Isn't it faster to run the bottom?" | Crew chief Tony Eury Jr.: "It can be."

Lap 36: Danica now seventh.

Lap 35: Top four cars break away, Danica now in big pack about 4 seconds behind leaders.

Lap 33: Danica radio - "Just let me know what I need to do" - trying to figure out if Bowyer wants her to be the pusher. The switch did not work well, and the tandem drop over three seconds behind the leaders.

Lap 32: Keselowski and Trevor Bayne pull ahead just slightly from the Danica/Bowyer tandem. Great racing up front!

Lap 31: Danica is side-by-side battling with Keselowski for the lead. Keselowski takes the lead, but this battle is not done yet!

Lap 30: Danica Patrick gets great drafting help from Clint Bowyer and TAKES THE LEAD!

RESTART - Lap 28: Kyle Busch is your race leader, Danica is sixth.

Lap 25: Several lead lap cars pit, but not Danica or the leaders. Funny enough, Dale Jr. does pit and his team is using his No. 88 sign so he would find his pit stall.

Lap 23 - CAUTION: Wreck begins in Turn 1 right in front of Danica - Dale Jr. gets through it somehow (he was further behind). WOW! Wreck started when Michael Annett, who was fifth, got spun and started a chain reaction that took out among others Elliott Sadler.

Lap 22: Good restart for Danica Patrick, she's up to fifth. She recently said on the radio that she thinks she has a good car, just needs some drafting help. What a difference a year makes.

Lap 20: Restart, Danica sixth.

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DANICA'S BEST

There's no one like Danica, both on and off the track. Check out some of our favorite photos of Danica in action.

Lap 19: Funny radio conversation right now for Danica's team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. He just missed his pit stall and his team asked him if he'd like them to hang the 88 pit stop sign instead.

Lap 19: Restart coming next time by, Danica will restart sixth. Clint Bowyer is your leader.

Lap 17: Drivers come onto pit road for service. Oh no! Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed his pit stall and he'll have to come back. He was driving towards the No. 88's pit stall (His Sprint Cup number) - but he is driving the No. 5 in the Nationwide Series.

Lap 16: Danica Patrick is eighth with pit stops coming under yellow.

Lap 15 CAUTION! - Wreck on the frontstretch. Brian Scott got turned entering the tri-oval on the frontstretch, he got wild and hit Sam Hornish Jr., who also spun out. Landon Cassill also got spun in that incident, but didn't appear to get as much damage as Scott and Hornish..

Lap 12: J.R. Fitzpatrick's car is smoking heavily on pit road. The crew is pushing his car to the garage and his day appears to be done. He is the second driver off the track today.

Lap 10: Danica seems to be losing the draft a bit and is losing spots. She's down to 13th, and without a drafting partner.

Lap 8: Things settling down a bit as they run single-file up front. Danica is part of the third lead pack, which has Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the lead of the four cars. Tony Stewart now leads the race.

Lap 6: Like many other drivers, Danica is going high and low trying to find the right lane and the right partner in the draft.

Lap 5: The shuffling continues and Danica continues to improve - she's back up to ninth.

Lap 4: Danica moves up to 15th.

Lap 3: How easy is it to lose positions? Former race leader Clint Bowyer went from first to 15th in two laps. Danica is down to 25th.

Lap 2: Joey Logano takes the lead, Danica down to 21st but she is in the draft now.

Lap 1: Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are locked together in the lead. Danica shuffles back to 15th.

GREEN FLAG! Danica starts fourth in her No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.

1:35 p.m. ET: With the green flag just seconds away, remember that Tony Stewart is going for his fourth-straight victory and sixth of his career in this event.

1:30 p.m. ET: As a reminder, Danica was involved in a wreck last year and finished 35th here at Daytona.

1:29 p.m. ET: Danica Patrick and the rest of the Nationwide Series field roll off pit road and being their pace laps.

1:28 p.m. ET: Reed Sorenson, who is slated to start 16th, will be the only driver to drop to the rear of the field to start the race.

1:25 p.m. ET: DRIVERS, START YOUR ENGINES!

1:16 p.m. ET: Driver introductions are complete, the prerace festivities are about to begin.

Green flag for today's race is scheduled for shortly after 1:15 p.m. ET.

So far so good for Danica Patrick, as she qualified a career-best fourth Friday afternoon and will start alongside owner/teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Row 2 today. In front of them will be polesitter Clint Bowyer and Landon Cassill.

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