Danica Patrick struggled with an ill-handling car and finished a disappointing 28th in the NRA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), started 42nd and early on dealt with a car that was tough to handle. Crew chief Tony Gibson made a series of track-bar, wedge and tire pressure adjustments throughout the race, while also making a shock adjustment and inserting a spring rubber in the right-rear spring.
The changes made the car better throughout the night. But with only seven cautions for 36 laps, Patrick fell three laps behind the leaders and had to settle for a finish outside the top-25.
“It was a tough night,” Patrick said. “The car was just kind of all over the place at the beginning. Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the GoDaddy guys kept working on it all night, and we made some improvements on it. The pit crew did a good job on the stops. We just need to get better on the 1.5-mile tracks. I know the team will keep working at it. We’ll see what we can do in Kansas.”
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for SHR, led once for three laps en route to finishing 10th. It was Newman’s fourth top-10 finish of the season and his fourth top-10 in 20 career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, finished 21st.
Kyle Busch won the NRA 500 to score his 26th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Texas. Busch is tied for 23rd on the all-time Sprint Cup Series wins list with 1965 Daytona 500 winner Fred Lorenzen.
Martin Truex Jr. finished .508 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers, Brad Keselowski and Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 36 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 334-lap race.
With round seven of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He moved up six spots to 17th and is 100 points behind series leader Johnson. Stewart maintained his 22nd-place spot in the standings and is 111 points out of first. Patrick also maintained her 26th-place spot in the standings and is 134 points behind Johnson.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 12 spots ahead of Stenhouse, who placed 40th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the STP 400 Sunday, April 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m.