Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) brought home a seventh-place finish in the second Can-Am Duel qualifying race on Thursday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
The Can-Am Duel consists of twin qualifying races that set the 40-car field for the season-opening Daytona 500, and as a result of her finish in the event, Patrick earned the 16th starting position for Sunday’s “Great American Race.”
Patrick started the Duel from the 14th position and drafted her way into the top-10 by lap three. She remained in the top-13 until crew chief Billy Scott called her to pit road on lap 39 for a fuel-only stop. When she got back on track, Patrick was scored in the 12th position.
On the final lap, cars ahead of Patrick made contact. As she slowed and maneuvered to avoid the carnage from the six-car incident, the No. 10 Chevrolet hit a patch of oil on the track and spun down into the infield grass. The Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet sustained minimal damage, and Patrick was able to continue on and take the checkered flag. The field was frozen when the caution flag waved and Patrick was credited with a seventh-place finish.
“Our night was pretty uneventful for the most part,” Patrick said. “Once we made the pit stop we just didn’t get going quick enough to catch that lead group. It made it kind of interesting once we did catch them. AJ (Allmendinger) did a good job of leading the line and getting us back up there. Once we caught (the lead pack), then it got exciting. I was pretty surprised with how exciting it was getting up there. It wasn’t like it was a great big pack and you needed to make something happen, because there were only 10 of us up there.
“On the last lap I saw Jimmie (Johnson) starting to spin. I got on the brakes hard and started to slow down, then I got off the brake and started to just roll, and there was oil and (the car) just spun. It was super unexpected. Hopefully, nothing is wrong with the car and we can just hammer on it a little bit, get it where it needs to be, change out the engine and get ready for the 500.”