Patrick not pleased with changes crew chief makes for qualifying
After qualifying 20th for Sunday’s 5-Hour Energy 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Danica Patrick made no bones about her unhappiness with how her car was set up.
"I don’t think that the changes that we made for qualifying were good," said Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, which is led by second-year crew chief Daniel Knost. "You learn with every mistake and we know not to do that and waste a run tomorrow, but it would have been nice to learn it in a practice session, but we didn’t. So we made the most of it."
For a variety of reasons, including getting wrecked last week at Kentucky Speedway by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Patrick has struggled of late.
After the first eight races of the season, she was 13th in points. But in the last 10 races, she has fallen all the way to 22nd on the basis of eight finishes outside the top 20, including three of 34th or worse.
Still, qualifying 20th at New Hampshire wasn’t all bad; Patrick’s best starting spot of the season so far was 16th at Martinsville Speedway in the spring.
"The car was loose, it was hard to handle, it was all over the place," Patrick said of her time-trial effort at New Hampshire. "But we made it better each run and went a little bit faster each run, which is something that I can’t say we have done all year long. I think that is a positive for us. It wasn’t a great qualifying, but it was OK. I always feel like if you are in front of that second pace car you can salvage a decent day."
Tomorrow, Patrick and the other 42 drivers will have two more practice sessions to try to improve their cars for Sunday’s race.
"I think we have a long list of things we want to try for tomorrow, but we made the most of what we had there and got the GoDaddy car as far up as we could with a car that wasn’t quite handling right," she said.
VIDEO: A look back at Danica Patrick’s post-race argument with Denny Hamlin following their wreck earlier this year in the Gatorade Duels at Daytona