It just wasn’t Danica Patrick’s night.
The driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) struggled with an ill-handling racecar from the drop of the green flag in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Those handling issues would plague her throughout the course of the night and lead to a 27th-place finish.
Early on, Patrick battled with a car that was especially tight exiting the turns. The tight-handling condition caused her to fall from her 24th-place starting position to 33rd by lap 10. With the leaders setting a rapid pace early in the race, Patrick fell a lap down to the leaders by lap 38.
While the crew tried to help Patrick’s handling woes with a series of adjustments to air pressure, wedge, track bar and even shocks, Patrick continued to fight a car that lacked grip and was inconsistent through the corners. Patrick noted to her crew that she couldn’t predict what the car was going to do or when.
By the race’s halfway point, Patrick told her crew that the changes had helped take the car in the right direction, moving smoother through the corners, and she moved up to 29th, just two laps down to the leaders. However, just a handful of laps later at lap 263, Patrick was tagged from behind by a fellow competitor and spun out in turn two to bring out the caution flag.
While Patrick didn’t hit anything and the No. 10 GoDaddy machine didn’t sustain any damage, the spin caused Patrick to lose two more laps to the leaders and dropped her to 35th-place in the running order.
Despite the issues, Patrick and her crew continued to fight through the hardships and work to make the car better throughout the course of the night. Patrick finished 27th.
“It was just a rough night,” Patrick said. “Our GoDaddy car just wasn’t that good from the beginning, and that kind of put us behind. The guys kept working on it with their adjustments, and they got it headed in the right direction, but it was just too late by that point. I think we all just did the best we could to hang in there, make the car better and try to make a good night out of it. It wasn’t the finish that we wanted, but we didn’t give up.”