By: Farrah Kaye
The Irish Hills of Michigan were not kind to Danica Patrick in the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
In a weekend that saw record-breaking speeds in every series, Patrick and her No. 7 GoDaddy.com/KickstartAmerica.US Chevrolet were involved in three of the seven cautions during the 125-lap race. Although her weekend started off well – finishing second, eighth and fifth in practices and qualifying fifth – her race was a struggle.
On lap one, Patrick spun with Brad Sweet, causing damage to Kurt Busch’s No. 54 machine and received a penalty for pitting too early. While there wasn’t damage to her car, she said, “it was just too loose.”
“Loose” seemed to be her phrase of the day and crew chief Tony Eury, Jr. tried his hardest to keep her calm.
Patrick led a lap to earn one bonus point on lap 90 only to spin again 13 laps later, this time with some help from Austin Dillon. With no damage to the car, Patrick kept going.
But just 10 laps later, Patrick and Sweet were wrecking again, this time causing damage to both cars. With only a handful of laps left in the race, Patrick limped around, finally finishing the race in 18th place, the last car on the lead lap.
After the race was over, Patrick took to Twitter:
She leaves Michigan 11th in points, 183 behind points leader Elliott Sadler. Former points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had another bad week, falling from second to third, now behind Austin Dillon as the series heads to Road America.
Stenhouse has had a string of bad luck recently and is looking forward, not backwards.
“I have no idea (what went wrong). I wish I knew,” he said. “We were just really loose and the complete opposite of practice. We were really slow. We tried to make a big change there and afterwards the car drove great it was just slow. We were wide open and still half a second off. I don’t know what is wrong with it. I am glad we are out of Michigan and going somewhere else. I never thought I would look forward to a road course, but we do now.”
Joey Logano won another Nationwide race, making this number five for the season, tying his total wins from 2009. Some question if his wins in the Nationwide series are building his confidence in the Cup series, while others question if he should go back to the lower level series to build up his skills as a driver when his Cup contract ends at the end of the 2012 season.
Austin Dillon took the pole and set a new track record on the newly repaved track, after 19 other drivers broke the record before him.
And in his first race back after suspension, Kurt Busch had words with another reporter after finishing third in the race. No word if any penalties will come down for this altercation.
In other news, Patrick’s boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke his 143-race winless streak, to which Patrick offered her congratulations via Twitter.
Farrah Kaye is a NASCAR columnist for CBS Local Digital Media and is a member of the NMPA. Her previous articles have appeared on SPEEDtv.com, newsweek.com and she holds a degree in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Kaye.