Crew chief explains nature of issue

The shoe story didn’t have to end at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal last Saturday.

Danica Patrick led 20 laps in last weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 before she ran over a shoe thrown from outside of the track. But her Nationwide Series crew chief Tony Eury Jr. says his driver’s mechanical misfortunes, which forced the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet to the garage, “had nothing to do with it.”

“What took us out was a broken left rear axle,” Eury Jr. said. “During the race (the car) wheel hopped so much, pinion shims came out and loosen up the ‘U’ bolts.”

Patrick has since been razzed for impersonations of Austin Power’s line “who throws a shoe?” Although track officials booted the alleged perpetrator who threw the shoe, Patrick still characterized the experienced as “disappointing.”

“We were looking forward to having a shot to win,” Patrick said. “That happened (when we were) in the lead. Whether it was what caused the problem or not, I don’t know. It definitely was what ended up leading toward the end of day. We were just looking at having a good result.”

Patrick finished 27th and remains 11th in the Nationwide Series points standings. She’s hoping to turn her luck around at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, where Patrick will also make her first attempt on the half-mile track in a Sprint Cup car. In two Nationwide starts at Thunder Valley, Patrick finished 33rd and 19th.

“I can’t tell you how many people said after Watkins Glen what bad luck I have, and then I hit a shoe,” Patrick said. “So, I don’t feel like it can get a lot worse. I don’t know if anyone has hit a shoe before, but it just seems like a very weird situation.

“I’m ready for (the luck) to turn. I’m ready for some good luck. I’m ready for some good results. The team has been working extremely hard. That doesn’t change whether we finish first or last, but it’s nice to get rewarded with a good finish sometimes. I think we are all looking forward to that.”