UPDATE: Danica Patrick is back on the racetrack on Lap 95, 28 laps behind the leaders, after repairs have been made to the broken axle on her car.
INDIANAPOLIS – A broken axle led to a broken heart of sorts for Danica Patrick in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Patrick, who started 14th, had high hopes for a good run at IMS, where she spent nearly a decade on the Verizon IndyCar Series open-wheel circuit before switching full-time to NASCAR.
As she told a packed press conference Saturday at IMS, Patrick said she still thought that she can make the Chase for the Sprint Cup this season if luck falls her way.
Unfortunately, Patrick now has one less chance to do so, as a mechanical failure caused her to miss nearly 30 laps before repairs could be completed, leaving her near the back of the pack of 43 drivers in Sunday’s 21st running of the Brickyard.
With just six races left to qualify for the Chase now remaining, the only way Patrick will make the expanded 16-driver playoff is to win a race between now and the final Chase qualifying race at Richmond.
Patrick appeared to be struggling with her Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet almost right from the green start. While she managed to stay within the top 20 through most of the first 60 laps, she started to have handling issues and began to fall back.
Shortly thereafter on Lap 67, the rear axle broke on Patrick’s car, according to reports by ESPN. She came into the pits for service and as she began to pull away to head back to the track, massive smoke came out from behind the right wheel well and the rear bumper.
Patrick took her car to the garage and began taking off her firesuit, an indication her day was done.
At the midway point of the race (80 of 160 laps), Patrick was scored dead last in the 43-car field.
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