Yet another potentially strong run for Danica Patrick was derailed by car issues at Pocono.
After qualifying 10th for the GoBowling.com 400, Patrick maintained that position throughout much of the afternoon. But on Lap 14, a flat right-rear tire sent her into the wall and thwarted any chance of a top-10 finish.
Patrick would return to the track and finish 30th on the afternoon, but that was thanks to a 13-car pileup that ended the day for several notable drivers. Following a 42nd-place finish at Indianapolis, Patrick remains well outside of the Chase standings at 28th in points.
As the Sprint Cup circuit now heads to Watkins Glen, Patrick has a glimmer of hope for another top-20 finish on the season. Even with limited experience on the road course, Patrick needs a strong result to keep her inside the top 30 and in contention for the Chase Grid.
Here's a look at the latest news, results and standings for Patrick ahead of the Cheez-It 355.
|GoBowling.com 400||Pocono Raceway||10||30|
|Brickyard 400||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||14||42|
|Camping World RV Sales 301||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||29||22|
|Coke Zero 400||Daytona International Speedway||29||8|
|Quaker State 400||Kentucky Speedway||10||21|
|Toyota/Save Mart 350||Sonoma Raceway||11||18|
|Quicken Loans 400||Michigan International Speedway||27||17|
|Pocono 400||Pocono Raceway||16||37|
|FedEx 400||Dover International Speedway||28||23|
|Coca-Cola 600||Charlotte Motor Speedway||4||39|
|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|
|Pos.||Driver||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
|1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||740||3||10||15|
Putting it lightly, the Stewart-Haas Racing team has experienced myriad issues this season.
Whether it's Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch or Patrick, engine problems and tire issues have plagued them throughout the year. Both Harvick and Busch have victories this season, but Stewart and Patrick are on the outside looking in at the Chase Grid due to the issues.
For Patrick, she simply apologized to her team following the latest incident, per Nate Ryan of USA Today:
Danica Patrick shutting off engine to fix the damage. "Right rear blew. So sorry," a sullen Patrick says. #nascar— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) August 3, 2014
While issues with her car were what ultimately ruined a good race for Patrick, the issues were likely self-induced.
Prior to the flat tire that sent her careening into the wall, the SHR driver smacked the wall in Turn 2. Patrick spoke about the accident following the race, via Ryan:
I feel so badly that I started the problems when I hit the fence there in turn two. I just wish I would have been smart enough to bring our GoDaddy Chevy to pit lane as soon as it happened, but sometimes tire rubs seem worse than what they are, so I stayed out there and we lost the tire. I'm really disappointed, and I know all the guys are, too.
Currently sitting at 28th in the standings, the only way for Patrick to theoretically make the Chase would be to win a race. After just one race at the Glen, the 32-year-old was unable to lead a lap last season.
Below are the results for Patrick at Watkins Glen, according to DriverAverages.com.
|Date||Start||Finish||Laps Led||Driver Rating||Status|
|Aug. 11, 2013||35||20||0||54.1||Running|
|Aug. 11, 2012*||23||43||0||31.8||Accident|
Where will Patrick finish at Watkins Glen?
In a previous road race during the 2014 season, Patrick did finish 18th at Sonoma Raceway. With just six top-20 results this year, that has to be reason for optimism as Patrick looks to secure her seventh.
Unfortunately, a top 20 doesn't help her much in the Chase standings. Without sniffing the lead at a road course yet in her career, it's unlikely that Patrick will gain any ground toward making the NASCAR postseason at Watkins Glen.
The pressure is on for SHR and Patrick heading into the Cheez-It 355 and a good finish appears likely. But with co-owner Stewart a leading contender for the race, Patrick might be the lone member of the team without a win after Sunday.
Predicted Finish: 17th
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