Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 30th in the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
Patrick, who started 36th, never could get the car to her liking during the race.
“It just wasn’t our night,” said Patrick, who made her 36th Sprint Cup start and her second at Richmond. “We just didn’t get it right. Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the GoDaddy guys never gave up and worked hard all weekend. There are nights that you just know it’s not going to go your way, and this was one of those nights. We’ve been making gains in recent weeks, but tonight was tough. The important thing is for me and the guys to forget about it and move onto Chicago and look to get better.”
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 20 spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 10th for his first career top-10. She remained 27th in the standings with 473 points.
Patrick’s teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, finished third in the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Newman led four laps before scoring his sixth top-five of 2013 and his sixth top-five in 24 career Sprint Cup starts at Richmond.
The third member of SHR, Mark Martin, finished ninth as he subs for the injured Tony Stewart as the interim driver of SHR’s No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS. It was Martin’s 31st top-10 in 56 career Sprint Cup starts at the .75-mile oval.
Carl Edwards won the Federated Auto Parts 400 to score his 21st career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Richmond.
Kurt Busch finished .668 of a second behind Edwards in the runner-up spot, while Newman, Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard rounded out the top-five. Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Martin and Stenhouse comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were five caution periods for 29 laps, with three drivers failing to finish the 400-lap race.
Richmond marked the last race of the regular season, as the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins.
The top-10 drivers in points are eligible to compete in the Chase, along with two wild-card drivers – Kasey Kahne and Truex – who were admitted to the Chase field by having the most wins among the drivers who were between 11th and 20th in the standings. NASCAR recalibrated the points for the 12 drivers as soon as the Richmond race was over, with each driver getting 2,000 points. With the exception of wild-card entrants Kahne and Truex, drivers also received three bonus points for each of their respective wins during the 26-race regular season. For drivers starting the Chase with identical point totals, their seed was determined by the traditional tiebreaker of best finishes beyond race victories.
Newman just missed the Chase, as his third-place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 400 put him in a tie with Truex for the second and final wild-card spot. But Truex won the tiebreaker as he had more second-place finishes than Newman.