Late-Race Restarts Thwart Top-15 Finish for Patrick

Despite running solidly inside the top-15 for much of the race, Danica Patrick and No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) left Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a 27th-place finish after losing ground on late-race restarts in Sunday’s Jeff Kyle Brickyard 400.

Patrick started the race from the 15th position and remained inside the top-20 until the team’s first pit stop at lap 28. Crew chief Daniel Knost called for a four-tire change and air pressure adjustments to improve her racecar’s handling. Once the field cycled through green-flag stops, Patrick was scored in the 18th position and noted that the air pressure changes had definitely made a positive impact on the car’s handling.

When the caution flag waved at lap 44 for debris, Knost called Patrick back down pit road for four tires and fuel. Several teams opted not to pit during the caution period, but the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet team still lined up 16th for the lap-49 restart. As fuel strategy by the field played out in their favor, Patrick ended up in the fifth position at the midpoint of the race.

The team pitted for left-side tires and fuel when the caution flag waved at lap 91, and Patrick restarted 10th at lap 96. She remained inside the top-15 for the next couple of runs and lined up seventh for a lap-124 restart after the team elected to take just left-side tires under caution. Trouble on the restart dropped her back to 17th, but Patrick rallied back and worked her way up to 14th before the caution flag waved again at lap 141. Knost called Patrick to pit road on the following lap for four tires and fuel, and she restarted 16th when the field went back to green-flag racing. Patrick managed to gain three positions before the caution flag was displayed at lap 147.

When the green flag waved again at lap 152, Patrick held her own on the initial restart but then fell back and was scored in the 21st position when the caution flag came out at lap 154. Shortly after the field took the green flag on the next restart, the caution flag was displayed yet again. On the final, green-white-checkered restart, Patrick again lost a number of positions and was credited with a 27th-place finish when she took the checkered flag.

While Patrick ran much higher than where she ended up at the end of the race, Sunday’s result marked her best-ever stock-car finish at Indianapolis, besting a 30th-place effort she scored in the 2013 Sprint Cup race there.

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Speedway Digest Staff

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