Danica Patrick struggled at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and finished a disappointing 29th in the Toyota/SaveMart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), went off course twice during the 110-lap race, the second coming on lap 64 when she cut a tire and hit the tire barrier in turn 10, causing moderate damage to her car.
“It was a long day – a long weekend,” Patrick said. “We just couldn’t get the car to the point where I was comfortable with it. It’s disappointing because I know the GoDaddy guys worked really hard all weekend. We just couldn’t get much to go our way this weekend. Having the cut tire and going into the tire barrier was just sort of salt in the wound. Hopefully we have a better weekend next week at Kentucky.”
Patrick’s teammate Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation 30th Anniversary Chevrolet SS, finished 15th.
The third member of SHR, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 28th after late-race contact with Jeff Burton ended a chance at a top-10 finish.
Martin Truex Jr. won the Toyota/SaveMart 350k to score his second career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at Sonoma.
Jeff Gordon finished 8.133 seconds behind Truex in the runner-up spot, while Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five. Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 19 laps, with four drivers failing to finish the 110-lap race.
With round 16 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He dropped five spots to 15th and has 433 points, 140 back of series leader Johnson and 20 points behind 10th-place Truex. Newman maintained his 18th-place standing and has 418 points, 155 out of first and 35 behind Truex. Patrick maintained her 27th-place standing and has 292 points, 281 behind Johnson and 161 away from Truex.
Ten 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.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished two behind Stenhouse, who placed 27th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Saturday, June 29 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by TNT beginning with its pre-race show at 6:30 p.m.