Danica unsure if penalty coming for Hornish wreck

Danica Patrick said Thursday she isn’t sure if NASCAR will

penalize her for intentionally wrecking Sam Hornish Jr. at

Talladega Superspeedway.

Patrick was angry after Hornish ran her up the track on the last

lap of the Nationwide Series race. She retaliated on the cool-down

lap, but insisted her intent was only to hit Hornish to show her

displeasure.

After watching a replay of the accident, she called both Hornish

and Nationwide Series director Joe Balash. She also exchanged

emails with Hornish team owner Roger Penske.

”I was definitely surprised he hit the wall, that was

completely unintentional,” she said during an appearance for new

sponsor Coca-Cola at Charlotte Motor Speedway. ”Sam didn’t mean to

put me in the wall, either. We’re both good, and I know we’re both

looking forward to Darlington.”

Patrick was not called to the NASCAR hauler after the race, and

has not been punished for her actions. She wasn’t sure if that will

change once she arrives Friday at Darlington Raceway.

”I have no idea,” she said. ”That’s not my department. I

don’t make those kinds of decisions. That’s up to NASCAR and the

things that they look at, and the things they take into

consideration.”

There’s been grumbling among fans about NASCAR officials not

even speaking to Patrick after Saturday’s race, mainly because Kyle

Busch was parked for an entire weekend last November for

intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution at Texas.

In disciplining Busch, NASCAR president Mike Helton repeated

several times that Busch was parked specifically for the Hornaday

incident and it was not a penalty based on overall body of work.

Some fans contend Patrick should also have been subjected to a

penalty under that premise.

Meanwhile, Ryan Newman also wondered about NASCAR

inconsistencies after team owner Tony Stewart went unpunished for

his tongue-and-cheek critique of Sunday’s race at Talladega.

Newman, who was also at the Coca-Cola appearance on Thursday, was

fined two years ago by NASCAR for critical remarks about the same

track.

The difference? Stewart was clearly being sarcastic when he

said, among other things, that ”I feel bad that, as drivers, we

couldn’t do a better job of crashing enough cars for them

today.”

Said Newman: ”I guess there’s a difference when you hold a

straight face versus and when you don’t. I didn’t see much

difference in what he said versus what I said. I know NASCAR has

supposedly changed their ways a little bit.”

Stewart concluded his session on Sunday by suggesting NASCAR

turn Talladega into a figure eight. Newman offered a different

solution – moving the race from Talladega to Barber Motorsports in

Leeds, Ala.

”Go to Barber Motorsports Park and have a third road-course

race,” Newman said. ”To me, that’s the best option (or) take the

banking out. We could go out there and run rental cars and run 75

miles an hour and make it a 100-mile race and put on a good

show.”