Danica Patrick finished 30th in Sunday’s 20th Annual Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was making her first Sprint Cup Series start at the 2.5-mile oval. She competed at Indianapolis seven times in the IZOD IndyCar Series in the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and finished in the top-10 six times.
“I just kind of kept with it and hoped to catch a break somewhere, or that the car would get a lot better, and it just kind of stayed real steady,” Patrick said. “We took two tires on one of the stops and we got track position out of it but, unfortunately, it just didn’t run very well. So, we tried something, it just didn’t work, and that’s that. It just was what it was. When we came into this weekend, I said ‘OK, I’m not going to try to take anything from the car that it doesn’t really have’ and, unfortunately, that’s what we had today. Or, that’s what I had today.
“I said it all week, that this is a special place and always will be. It would have been nice to have a better day than this and be able to march forward. We just didn’t. And that’s just all there is to it. Sometimes, these are just the days you have. So, that’s all right. We’ll roll on to Pocono and hope for better.”
Patrick’s teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans/Smurfs 2 Chevrolet SS, won the Brickyard 400. It was the 19th point-paying Sprint Cup win for SHR since its inception in 2009 and its second this season. Tony Stewart won June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Newman started from the pole after a track-record qualifying lap Saturday and led four times for 48 laps en route to his first win of the season and his first at Indianapolis. He is the third driver to win the Brickyard 400 from the pole, joining Kevin Harvick (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2008). This was Newman’s 17th career Sprint Cup victory and his first since April 1, 2012 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
“I’m happy for Ryan, he is an Indiana boy,” Patrick said. “He got the pole, so I’m really happy for him. I’m happy for Stewart-Haas. We’ve had a trying year, for sure. And so, the high point of Tony winning at Dover and Ryan winning here is pretty cool. This is a special place and I’m sure he’s very happy in victory lane.”
Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for SHR, finished fourth. It was Stewart’s seventh top-five and 11th top-10 in 15 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis. It was also his fifth top-five and seventh top-10 this season.
Johnson finished 2.657 seconds behind Newman in the runner-up spot, while Kasey Kahne, Stewart and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were three caution periods for a total of 14 laps with all 43 cars running at the finish of the 160-lap race.
With round 20 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He moved up two spots to 11th and has 558 points, 182 back of series leader Johnson and just one point behind 10th-place Gordon. By virtue of his victory, Newman gained three spots and sits 16th with 534 points, 206 out of first and 25 behind Gordon. Patrick gained one spot and sits 26th in the standings with 364 points, 376 behind Johnson and 195 away from 10th.
Six races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., and Newman are the only drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory. Since Stewart and Truex sit 11th and 12th in the standings, respectively, they hold the first and second wild-card spots.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished five spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 25th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the GoBowling.com 400 Sunday, Aug. 4 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.