On Lap 481 of Sunday's STP Gas Booster at Martinsville Speedway, Danica Patrick found herself in an unexpected position—battling Tony Stewart, her car owner and a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, for the 16th position.
Stewart was hung on the outside, losing spots as cars at the bottom of the track passed him in quick succession. Patrick, however, said she didn't give a moment's consideration to giving Stewart enough room to move to the inside lane.
"We were racing for position, so it didn't cross my mind to let him in," said Patrick, who finished 12th as the top entry for Stewart-Haas Racing. "I went underneath him to go by him. No, all that crossed my mind is that I just ... I'd be fair and give room and run hard, and if I get the spot, great.
"If I don't, you lost it to a guy like Tony Stewart. But, no, I'm out there to race, and I don't think Tony would want me to lift."
Making her first Martinsville start as the only woman ever to compete at the .526-mile short track in NASCAR's highest classification, Patrick posted her best Cup finish since running eighth in this year's Daytona 500 and her career-best result at an open-motor track.