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Danica Patrick wrecked in Bristol debut
Danica Patrick received the full Bristol experience on Saturday.
Patrick qualified 29th for the Scotts EZ Seed 300 Nationwide Series race and ran in top 15 before she was hit with a speeding penalty on Lap 203. On Lap 247, Patrick was running 17th, two laps off the pace, when she lost control of her car in Turn 1 after running in close quarters with Ryan Truex, who was also making his debut at the track.
After some heated comments over her team radio, Patrick got out of her car and threw her arms up in Truex's direction.
“I was just running down the straight and it felt like he came into my right front," Patrick said. "I don’t know exactly what happened but I don’t think I did anything.
“Ryan just runs really hard. He’s grabbling for every last bit. It took me, shoot, what 20 laps to pass him. I just think he never gives up on any level even when it’s more productive and faster if he did. I’m just disappointed not to finish here ... I’m always disappointed to crash a car, but that’s racing.”
Patrick entered Bristol fourth in the point standings following a career-high finish of fourth at Las Vegas two weeks ago. She spent the off-week testing with her IndyCar team, Andretti Autosport, at Sebring and Barber Motorsports Park before transitioning back to the heavier stock cars on Friday.
For his part, Truex accepted blame for the incident.
“My car was really loose for about half the race. I just came off the corner dead sideways. I was either backing into the wall or going down the hill and hoping to save it," said Truex. "I came off and came up — the right rear just almost hit the wall and came down to save it. (Patrick) was there and came down on her and pretty much ended her day. I feel bad about that. It wasn’t on purpose and I’m sorry.
"I guess it’s a racing deal — it’s Bristol, its tight and things like that happen. I definitely feel bad about it.”
Patrick’s 33rd-place finish knocked her to ninth in the point standings. Bristol marked the fourth of 12 NASCAR races Patrick, 28, will run this season. She’ll run in the IndyCar Series then return to the Nationwide Series on June 4 in Joliet, Ill.
“It would have been nice to finish this race at Bristol,” Patrick said. “We got pretty far and we’re having a pretty decent race for our first time here. It’s definitely the best I’ve been on a short oval for the first time at it. So it would have been nice to get the finish especially not being back for a couple of months. I think (crew chief) Tony (Eury) Jr. gave me the best car of the weekend in that race. That accident sure feels like it could have been avoidable but I don’t really know. I’d have to seen the replay.”