Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 21st in the season-opening Daytona 500 after maneuvering to avoid a last-lap wreck.
Patrick earned a 20th -place start for the 57th Daytona 500 but had to begin near the back of the field after crashing her primary racecar in the Budweiser Duel qualifying race on Thursday. Despite dropping back at the start, she quickly drafted her way into the top-20 by lap two.
After running as high as 10th in the “Great American Race,” Patrick avoided disaster several times in Sunday’s race. Twice cars ahead of her experienced engine failures, and each time Patrick was able to avoid getting caught up in the aftermath.
Then, with five laps to go, Patrick nearly spun; she was able to save it but dropped back several positions. When a late caution bunched the field up once again for a green-white-checkered finish, Patrick lined up 28th for the final restart. Despite trying various lines, she was unable to gain any ground. On the white-flag lap, a multicar accident occurred on the backstretch and Patrick took evasive action to avoid the No. 47 car. She was scored in the 21st position when NASCAR threw the caution flag, which froze the field and ended the race.
“I tried high, middle, low (lanes) and nothing worked there at the end of the race,” Patrick said. “It was just a bummer that it was so hard to pass. Once it got three-wide at the end, there was just nowhere to go.
“We definitely had to fight our way through everything this week, but at the end of the day, the GoDaddy team finished the race and I feel like we learned a few things for next time.”