Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 10/15/14
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There were those who doubted Danica Patrick's ability to acclimate to Martinsville Speedway. But Patrick proved the boys wrong Sunday with a 12th-place finish in her NASCAR debut at the track. Patrick, who started 43rd in her Martinsville Sprint Cup debut due to an engine change, patiently worked her way through traffic. Despite dropping to two laps off the lead circuit, she moved up into the top 25 midway through the race and into the top 20 by Lap 318. Her issues with Dale Earnhardt Jr. started on Lap 354, when he developed handling difficulties and she passed him for position. On Lap 465, Earnhardt traded paint with Patrick in Turn 2 and then, as Brian Vickers attempted to pass both drivers on the inside, Vickers nudged the No. 10 Chevy which consequently sent Earnhardt spinning in Turn 4. As far as Earnhardt was concerned it was no harm, no foul where Patrick was concerned. On the penultimate restart, Patrick restarted 11th with 28 laps remaining. Although cars on fresh tire...
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