“Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug. Today, we were the bug.” – Tweet from @TonyOldman10 Sunday evening, March 3.
Tony Gibson, crew chief of Danica Patrick’s No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), hit send on that bit of wisdom just hours after he and Patrick looked over a destroyed race car in the garage area during the Subway Fresh Fit 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, March 3 at Phoenix International Raceway.
One week after starting on the pole and leading five laps en route to a record-setting eighth-place finish in the 55th Daytona 500, Patrick and Gibson became “the bug” after a massive accident at Phoenix sent them to a disappointing 39th-place finish.
Patrick was in the top-25 on lap 184 at Phoenix when she exited turn four of the mile oval and the right-front tire of her car suddenly lost all air pressure. Her machine headed straight for the SAFER Barrier on the outside of turn four, and the right front of her GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS took the brunt of the impact. The car then bounced off the wall and was hit in the driver’s side by the oncoming car of David Ragan, who had nowhere to go.
The two collisions destroyed Patrick’s car, but the driver was checked and released without injury from the infield care center. The accident caused Patrick to fall from seventh to 22nd in the point standings.
Patrick will look to change her luck in this week’s Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and everyone knows luck is an important part of any trip to Vegas. So, perhaps it’s ironic that Patrick will make her 13th career Sprint Cup Series start this weekend.
If the number isn’t traditionally lucky, at least Patrick’s stock car luck at the 1.5-mile oval traditionally has been good. In three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Las Vegas, Patrick has two top-12 finishes, including a record-setting fourth-place result in 2011.
That marked the best finish by a woman in a NASCAR national stock-car series, topping a fifth-place run by Sarah Christian in a Sprint Cup race in 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway.