Danica Patrick's Rough Weekend Ends With Hidden Plus

Camille JonesContributor IIIAugust 22, 2010

SONOMA, CA - AUGUST 21:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 Team GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda drives during qualifying for the IZOD IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway on August 21, 2010 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

From struggles in practice, to a 23rd place qualifying effort this weekend for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Danica Patrick sure put up with the trouble it took to get all the way up to P10 in today's race, only to be shot off the track by driver, Takuma Sato, who damaged her front wing and car's nose entering a turn with only a couple laps to the checkered flag. While he pulled off into the pits, she trailed around the track with severe car damage, only to finish 16th after a rally to the top 10 all day.

This wasn't the first meeting she and Sato had during the laps around the track this weekend. During practice on Saturday, Danica took flight around a corner after contact with Sato, leaving her with suspension damage and no opportunity to finish the final practice before qualifications. 

Disappointment struck Patrick yet again, though there may be light at the end of the tunnel as the series heads into its final four races of the season, all of which are ovals, which she excels on.

With all the ups and downs of this weekend, there's one positive that Danica now has under her belt. After tying Scott Dixon's record of 28 consecutive races running at the finish, back at Mid-Ohio, and with her running finish in today's race, she now holds the record for the most consecutive finishes without a DNF. Though not heavily highlighted, it is a huge accomplishment for her and her team. 

And with the strong ovals she has approaching, the length of her record lead may just keep growing and growing as the races come along.