By Pete Pistone
Danica Patrick’s final NASCAR race until June 4th didn’t go exactly as she had hoped.
Coming off her historic fourth place finish at Las Vegas two weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which made Patrick the highest finishing female driver in NASCAR since 1949, her first trip to Bristol Motor Speedway ended like it has for many a driver over the years – in the garage with a battered race car.
While running 17th, Patrick made contact with Ryan Truex racing down the backstretch with 48 laps to go in Saturday’s Nationwide Series Scotts EZ Seed 300. Patrick wound up sliding through turn three before smashing hard into the outside retaining wall.
She was uninjured in the crash but not happy with Truex.
“It felt like to me, I came out of the corner I was just running down the straight and it felt like he came off the wall,” said Patrick. “I don’t I know if he had a tag-slap off the wall, like he was pushing up and then it snapped on him and he came off. I don’t know. I don’t know if I may be giving him the benefit of the doubt right there.”
Truex didn’t waste any time after the race ended to apologize for the incident and took blame for ending Patrick’s day and ruining his chance for a better finish.
“It was my fault. I guess that’s just racing at Bristol,” Truex said. “We were racing there and I just came off the corner, got loose, and as I was saving it just came down the hill and got into her. My fault. I mean, I’m sorry. I didn’t want for that to happen. I don’t know if she thinks I did it on purpose. I guess she’s just mad because she was running good. It was an accident. I apologize.”
So a 33rd place finish is what Patrick has to show for her effort in her final NASCAR race for three months as she embarks on the 2011 IZOD Indy Car Series season next weekend in St. Petersburg.
“I’m just disappointed,” Patrick said. “I felt like this was a pretty decent run at Bristol for the first time.
… It’s disappointing to leave for a couple of months with this kind of a thing.”
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