Heading into this weekend, Watkins Glen International threw out the welcome mat for Danica Patrick, but then abruptly pulled it back twice on Friday.
It was bad enough that Patrick was slated to start Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen from the back of the 43-car field due to an engine change in her No. 10 Chevrolet after Friday’s first of two practice sessions.
But then things went from bad to worse in the last two minutes of the second practice session late Friday afternoon.
Patrick was coming out of the carousel on the nearly 2.5-mile road course when she plowed head on into a tire wall. According to Fox Sports 1, it was a cut left front tire that prevented her from turning.
As a result, the engine change became secondary in nature as Patrick will now have to go to a back-up car for Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race day.
Patrick apparently caused some damage to the motor in her car after reportedly missing a shift and causing the engine to over-rev during the first 90-minute practice session, SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli told NASCAR.com.
The damage apparently was significant enough that the team had to change the engine, thus relegating her to the back of the field in Sunday’s race, regardless of how she qualifies Saturday.
The only benefit for Patrick for a good qualifying run Saturday would be she could earn a better pit stall than last on pit road.
Patrick, who finished 20th in her Sprint Cup debut at The Glen last season, was no faster than 32nd-fastest during Friday’s first practice on the nearly 2.5-mile road course before her wreck.
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