Danica Patrick’s Finish Not Indicator Of Performance

Chris Knight - NASCAR Wire Service Monday, May 05 1189

By far Danica Patrick had her best showing of 2014 on Sunday afternoon at Talladega. Unfortunately, the performance was overshadowed by a disappointing 22nd place finish.

Patrick, in her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, unloaded strong and exercised her strength during practice on Friday afternoon. The weekend only continued to get better for her Stewart-Haas Racing team as they accelerated themselves through “knock-out” qualifying to earn her best starting spot of the season, seventh.

When the green flag dropped on Sunday afternoon, the Roscoe, Illinois native wasted no time showing she came to contend, and with help, found herself in the lead for six of the event’s first 12 laps.

Not even contact with Brad Keselowski while racing for the lead would spoil her day. Patrick did, however, find herself drifting back in the pack as a result of overheating issues as the race progressed. Though she made a gallant charge through the field in the latter stages of the event, climbing as high as fifth, she found herself continuing to deal with overheating, which eventually left her in the traditional Talladega shuffle in the closing laps.

“It was good out front," Patrick said. "I wish I could have stayed there. I was just talking about heating issues; I was getting hot a lot. I think you saw that from a lot of cars. It was a hot day here in Talladega. When you get back a little bit in the field it gets even worse. I think I was the second lane -- like second car back -- real early on and it just felt like it kind of died a little bit. Then I started getting passed. So I dropped back to get some clean air. Got some track position, a couple of times and got up there a little bit, but heating was definitely an issue. It really limited me to the bottom lane. The good news is this car is going to get to go to Daytona. That is a positive. The result was not necessarily too much of a positive, but it’s going to get rolled up on the truck so that is more than a lot of people can say coming from a speedway.”

Patrick, however, did post a personal-best at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, bettering her back-to-back 33rd place finishes in 2013.