For the first 69 laps of Sunday’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Danica Patrick had a top-15 car. But a broken rear gear when she exited her pit stall on lap 69 ended her chance of a top-10 finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and she ended up 42nd.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), started 14th and was in the top-15 for much of the race when she was called to pit on lap 69 by crew chief Tony Gibson. After four tires were changed and fuel was added, the jack was dropped and she took off. Unfortunately, a cloud of smoke came out from her car immediately, and the crew figured something had broken in the rear of the car.
“We looked at everything, and it looks like the launch was fine,” Patrick said. “It's just one of those things. It’s too bad and these things never happen when you’re having a bad day (laughs). We were having a good day. It’s disappointing and the GoDaddy guys built me a really good car. Hendrick gave me great horsepower. We were the fastest car out there at times. We qualified better and had a good car for the race, it just didn’t end the way we wanted it to. The good thing is, I get to come back to Indy and that makes me happy.”
Crew chief Tony Gibson and the GoDaddy crew repaired the car, but Patrick was only able to complete 114 of 160 laps.
“It looks like the locker broke in the rear end,” Gibson said. “There is a locker spring and that’s what tells the right rear to spin versus the left rear and both of them together. From what I can see, visually, it looks like the locker spring broke. So nothing would spin other than the right-rear tire. We changed the transmission and all that just to be sure. You don’t see it all that often, but with what we are asking these things to do, dropping off the jack and going at 9,800 rpm, it doesn’t take much to break them. We had a fast car and I’m proud of what the team did.”