late-race accident in Sunday’s 23rd Annual Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway left Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) unable to contend for a top-20 finish at the historic 2.5-mile track.
Patrick started the race from the 24th position and remained inside the top-30 as she battled an ill-handling car. Crew chief Billy Scott called for air pressure and chassis adjustments throughout the event in an effort to improve the car’s balance.
Due to the blistering pace set by eventual race winner Kyle Busch, Patrick went a lap down to the leader during a long, green-flag run at lap 50, but she was the beneficiary of the “lucky dog” pass when the caution flag waved three laps later to go back on the lead lap. Patrick once again went a lap down later in the race and was scored in the 18th position at lap 120 when the caution flag waved once again in the midst of green-flag pit stops.
Scott made the call for Patrick to take the wave-around and pit once the field went back to green-flag racing conditions at lap 127. The wave-around cars that attempted this strategy were once again caught a lap down to the leaders before the caution flag waved at lap 130.
Patrick was scored just outside of the top-20 in the closing laps of the race. But when the caution flag waved at lap 153 for a multicar incident that Patrick had skillfully managed to avoid, the No. 31 car came down the track and clipped the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet, sending her into the outside wall. NASCAR officials displayed the red flag and stopped the cars on the track as they cleaned up the debris from the wreck.
Once the yellow flag was displayed again, Scott called Patrick to pit road for repairs. The No. 10 Nature’s Bakery team did a solid job of getting the car in manageable shape so that Patrick could finish the race, but she was unable to contend for positions in the subsequent restarts and scored a 22nd-place result.
“The car just wouldn’t turn after the wreck,” Patrick said. “I have to thank my Nature’s Bakery team for getting the car fixed so I could finish, and the guys did a great job on pit road all day.”