With Danica Patrick's experience at Texas Motor Speedway, Saturday night's performance should have been her career-best at the track.
Certainly, her 14th-place finish in the Nationwide Series event was not indicative of her body of work in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.
Patrick rolled off eighth. With several adjustments to the track bar and tires in the first half of the race, the car was dialed in to her liking. Throughout the night, she would pass 52 cars under green flag conditions.
However, problems with a right front tire forced Patrick to pit prematurely and cost her valuable track position.
Patrick was comfortably running sixth on Lap 131 when she radioed: "I've got to pit, pit." She quickly turned down pit road and told the crew: "I think the right front was going down." Her spotter, Tab Boyd, told Patrick that the tire was not only going down, but it was also "shredded." Crew chief Ryan Pemberton reassured Patrick: "You did a great job of getting on pit road, great...