Danica-Mania was all the buzz when Danica Patrick won the pole position for the Daytona 500 and posted a Top-10 finish in the season opener, but today she showed that she’s capable of much more with her 12th place finish at Martinsville in the STP Gas Booster 500.
Whether by social media, radio comments, or other platforms, Patrick has been openly criticized by her poor performance in recent weeks, but her finish today could be that momentum swinging run that changes the trajectory of her season and quite possibly her career.
Starting the day behind the eight-ball, she scratched, clawed, and muscled her way back from a two-lap deficit after bringing out the first caution of the race when she spun in turn four on lap 17.
“We had a spin at the very beginning and I felt like I got pinched down,” Patrick said. “I learned my lesson that you don’t go in too hard.”
She proved to be a quick learner as she used patience and a strong car to put herself in position to claim a Top-10 finish in the late stages of the race. Flexing her muscle, she made a power move to pass her team owner Tony Stewart on lap 481, and battled side-by-side with Brian Vickers and Kevin Harvick for 11th position on the final lap.
“I held it down and kept digging on the outside.” Patrick said about the tight finish at the checkered flag.
Moving on to Texas will be a big test for Patrick as she tries to improve on her solid run but the confidence she gained on the track today could be just the added boost she needs moving forward.