Posted by Pete Pistone
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Danica Patrick's first appearance in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona ended violently with a hard crash into the backstretch inside wall.
Patrick climbed from her car uninjured in the vicious crash and gave her view of what took place after she made on track contact with Aric Almirola.
“It happened really quickly," Patrick explained. "I guess you can always imagine when you get down to the end of the race everyone is on each other’s doors really close. It’s just kind of what happens at the end of the race. Unfortunately, I was part of it. I felt like I was having at least a solid race. I worked my way up there at the beginning a little bit; hung around in the front group for a while. I felt like it kind of slowed down I was dragging the brake a little bit just to keep with the pack and not run up to them too quickly. I don’t know if that had any affect. We were just looking to finish to be honest; unfortunately that was not the case.”
Patrick ran inside the top ten for some of Thursday's first 60-lap qualifying race but wasn't really a challenger for the lead or win. Still she feels the day was part of her learning process and she'll try to take something away from the experience including the crash.
“I’m betting that everybody that was watching on TV probably had the best look," Patrick said. "From my perspective it was obviously the last lap and the bottom lane started moving well so that is where I was. We were just getting our run down the back and all of a sudden I got hit. I’m betting that somebody also got hit outside of me, is what I’m betting.
"I’m going to have to look. It was just a chain reaction every person that gets hit, next and next and next. It gets bigger and bigger. It felt like a pretty big hit so I don’t know what it looked like. I’m really just bummed out that we didn’t finish the last two corners. Instead we have a Go Daddy car in the wall and lots of damage and I’m sure a back-up. But, what I said was maybe the back-up car will be faster.”