Here's the good news: Danica Patrick earned her second consecutive top-10 finish—sort of. The bad news for the No. 10 crew? Patrick wasn't able to win the fan vote for a second straight season to earn a spot in the All-Star Race.
Josh Wise and his Dogecoin fans overtook the Stewart-Haas driver on Friday night following the Sprint Showdown. And with Patrick not qualifying for the race with a top-two result in the Showdown, all she could do was watch as Jamie McMurray raced his way to Victory Lane in Charlotte.
Being one of the most polarizing figures in racing, Patrick's absence from the field was either heralded or criticized. As for how she treated her fans following the announcement, Patrick thanked them for the support on her personal Twitter account:
No more sorry's guys! You rocked it! Everything happens for a reason! 😉— Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) May 17, 2014
After a good run on Friday night in the Showdown and being shut out of the All-Star Race, the GoDaddy team will work toward completing another top-10 finish in the Coca-Cola 600.
Before the huge race gets underway on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on Fox, here's a look at the latest news and predictions for Patrick in Charlotte.
|Pos.||Driver||Car||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
|4||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||88||368||1||6||7|
|5-Hour Energy 400||Kansas Speedway||9||7|
|Aaron's 499||Talladega Superspeedway||7||22|
|Toyota Owners 400||Richmond International Raceway||35||34|
|Bojangles' Southern 500||Darlington Raceway||33||22|
|Duck Commander 500||Texas Motor Speedway||24||27|
|STP 500||Martinsville Speedway||10||32|
|Auto Club 400||Auto Club Speedway||27||14|
|Food City 500||Bristol Motor Speedway||36||18|
|Kobalt 400||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||22||21|
|The Profit on CNBC 500||Phoenix International Raceway||33||36|
|Daytona 500||Daytona International Speedway||27||40|
There was plenty for NASCAR fans to love about Saturday night's All-Star Race.
McMurray pulled off the surprising victory, Kevin Harvick finished second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrapped up another top-five finish for the season. The night before, Earnhardt shared his thoughts on how the Showdown would finish:
But one driver was noticeably absent from the running, and Jeff Owens of Sporting News shared his thoughts on the apparent absurdity:
Patrick didn’t deserve to be in the all-star on performance or merit. She has struggled on the track this year, as she has her whole NASCAR career. She will be the first to admit that she doesn’t belong among NASCAR’s all-star elite based on performance.
But that’s where the Sprint Fan Vote comes in. It’s basically a popularity contest that allows fans to vote one driver into the all-star race. [...] Except for this year, when the fan vote turned into a farce.
With all due respect to Wise and his sponsors, he had no business being in Saturday night’s race.
Tell us how you really feel, Jeff.
So a driver like Patrick should get in not based off performance or merit and Wise isn't allowed the same privilege? Something doesn't add up there.
Plenty of fans stand on the other side of the fence from Owens' opinion, as Jeff Gluck of USA Today points out:
Patrick's crew chief Jeff Gibson, on the other hand, completely understands the decision to have Wise—who finished 15th on Saturday—over Patrick. As for how he plans to change that, Gibson spoke about how they'll handle that moving forward, per Jared Turner of Fox Sports:
I think they figured out a way to work it pretty good there and that's what the fans wanted, so you've got to give the fans voting what they want. It's kind of like American Idol or whatever that show is, but it shouldn't come to that, anyway.
You shouldn't rely on having to get a vote in like that. You should run good enough. Anybody who runs the all-star race needs to be good enough to win it. It's disappointing but I would much rather race my way in and feel better about the competition tomorrow.
With the "farce," or whatever you want to call it behind Patrick and the Stewart-Hass team, she will get one more crack at making an impression in Charlotte this weekend.
The Coca-Cola 600 is widely considered the second-most-popular race in NASCAR behind the Daytona 500. And after a seventh-place result at Kansas two weekends ago and being shut out of the All-Star Race, Patrick will attempt to respond with another good run at CLT.
Here's a look at Patrick's career results at the track:
|Date||Start||Finish||Laps Led||Driver Rating||Status|
|May 16, 2014||7||10 (Out of 23)||0||73.2||Running|
|Oct. 12, 2013||35||20||0||55.2||Running|
|May 26, 2013||24||29||0||49.1||Running|
|May 18, 2013||7||9 (out of 23)||0||78.8||Running|
|May 18, 2013||22||20 (out of 22)||0||28.2||Running|
|May 27, 2012||40||30||0||42.9||Running|
Where will Patrick finish in Charlotte?
After earning a top-20 finish in Charlotte during the final race last season, Patrick will look to better that performance again this weekend. Another huge point to note for Patrick is that she has finished every race in North Carolina, but has never led a lap.
While Patrick earned plenty of respect from her fellow drivers in Kansas, placing near the front of the pack in the Coca-Cola 600 is a completely different story.
Predicted Finish: 18th
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