After her team did a valiant job to get her car back on track after being knocked into the wall earlier, Danica Patrick suffered the same type of motor failure that knocked teammate Kurt Busch out of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Patrick finished a disappointing 39th.
Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet had been struggling with at least one cylinder down during much of the race. Prior to that happening, she had been challenging pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson for the lead early on.
But once her motor lost that cylinder, Patrick faded back into the field. When Marcos Ambrose spun on Lap 235, Patrick’s car was hit in the rear by Brian Scott, forcing her into the wall and suffering moderate damage.
To her team’s credit, they were able to make enough repairs to get Patrick back on the track. But just like Busch’s engine let go 12 laps earlier, Patrick’s motor also let go coming onto the frontstetch on Lap 286, ending her day as well.
“Sorry guys, it’s definitely not what we had wanted, but we did some good things this weekend,” Patrick told her crew over the team radio.
Patrick was hoping for a second strong finish, having wound up with a career-best seventh-place finish two weeks ago at Kansas.
She had been optimistic coming into Sunday’s race after qualifying fourth and ranking in the top 10 in both final practice sessions on Saturday.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.