In her first Brickyard 400, Danica Patrick just couldn’t summon up the past magic she had in an IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Sprint Cup rookie was name-checked in the command from IMS board chairwoman Mari Hulman George – “Danica and gentlemen, start your engines,” she said – but was unable to move towards the lead pack in the race and finished 30th.
“You know, it just wasn’t anything special,” Patrick said about her long Sunday afternoon at the Speedway. “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.”
“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.”
Patrick believed that additional practice would have helped matters, saying that despite her past experience at IMS, she felt that she didn’t know the track well enough in the car she had today.
“I didn’t feel like I was extremely comfortable as in I knew where to take the car to the limit,” she said. “More time would have probably helped. That’s where experience comes in and it’s not like [the Indianapolis 500] – we don’t have a whole week [to practice]. So, we’ve got to get it done in a couple of hours.”
Despite her problems on the track, she was still happy for Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman, who won in front of his home crowd.
“We’ve had a trying year for sure and so, the high point of Tony [Stewart] winning at Dover and Ryan winning here is pretty cool,” she said. “This is a special place and I’m sure he’s very happy in Victory Lane.”