Danica Patrick and the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team finished 24th in Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Patrick started the race from the 20th position and was scored 22nd when the caution flag waved for the first time at lap 21 for debris. She radioed to the team that the car’s handling was tight in the center but OK on entry and exit. Crew chief Daniel Knost called Patrick to pit road at lap 23 for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustments.
Pit strategies varied, with some teams opting to stay out and many teams electing to take just two tires, so Patrick restarted from the 23rd position at lap 26. The teams that didn’t pit under caution began to hit pit road at lap 77, and Patrick ran as high as third before Knost called her to pit road at lap 91 for four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments.
Patrick went a lap down to the leader as the field cycled through green-flag pit stops and was scored in the 34th position when the caution flag waved at lap 96. She lost a second lap to the leader at lap 159, but as Patrick remained on a different fuel cycle from the leaders, she was able to cycle back to one lap down as the leaders pitted at lap 178.
When the caution flag waved at lap 188 for debris, Knost brought Patrick in for four tires, fuel and air pressure, wedge and packer adjustments in an effort to improve the car’s handling.
The GoDaddy Chevrolet was scored in the 32nd position when the field went back to green-flag racing at lap 193. Patrick held her own and gained several positions over the course of the next 50 laps. When the caution flag waved again at lap 251, Knost made the call for Patrick to remain on track despite being short on fuel so the No. 10 could take the wave-around and get back on the lead lap as the leaders pitted. Patrick lined up in the 28th position when the green flag waved again at lap 257.
The remainder of the race went caution-free until the last lap, so with six laps to go the No. 10 team was forced to pit for a splash of fuel. The trip to pit road put Patrick back down a lap to the leader. She took the checkered flag in the 24th position.“The call to take the wave-around was definitely the right decision to make there,” Patrick said. “We had to go for it and get our lap back so we could try to compete for a better finish. Days like these are tough and require a lot more effort and energy from everyone. It’s disappointing to end up as far back as we did, but I’m proud of my GoDaddy team for not giving up and working so hard today.”