Dale vs. Danica: Earnhardt Jr., Patrick get into it at Kentucky

Danica Patrick’s milestone 100th career Sprint Cup Series start didn’t go so well.

Running 27th and on the lead lap just ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Lap 207 of Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, Patrick appeared to slow ever so slightly before Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevy tagged her bumper and sent the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet into the wall.

Patrick then spun down across the track and into the grass as Earnhardt Jr., who had been dealing with brake issues for much of the night, drove on.

Moments later, Patrick tapped Earnhardt’s bumper on pit road to express her displeasure.

"What an awesome night," Patrick sarcastically radioed to her crew.

After learning of Earnhardt’s brake problems, Patrick was still unhappy with NASCAR’s most popular driver — her boss for three years when she drove in the XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports.

"Pick another lane maybe," she radioed to her crew, suggesting Earnhardt could have avoided the contact.

Patrick lost a lap as a result of the incident, falling outside the top 35, but continued on in the race.

Patrick finished 34th, two laps down, while Earnhardt came home 21st and on the lead lap.

Century mark: Danica Patrick's road to 100 Sprint Cup starts

Earnhardt made no apologies about running into Patrick, due to the situation with his brakes.

"I mean what am I supposed to say other than the truth?" the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "We didn’t have any brakes going into the corner. I know better than to run into her, because it gets so much attention. There wasn’t nothing I could do.

"I mean as hard as I hit her, what the hell did she think I was doing trying to wreck her? We ain’t got no problem. It’s not like we were having a problem out on the racetrack with her. It’s not like I just drew her name out of a hat and decided she was the one I was going to run into tonight."

Asked how he felt about Patrick deliberately bumping his No. 88 car on pit road to retaliate, Earnhardt struck a somewhat more conciliatory tone.

"I don’t know," he said. "I know that I didn’t have any brakes, and it’s hard not to do that if you are in her shoes. But it makes me mad, because I didn’t have any brakes. I didn’t do that on purpose.

"I don’t know. She will chill out. It happens to all of us. I’m not too worried about it. I got a pretty good friend, so I think we will be able to talk it out."