It’s possible to have a rough week at work, even if your office is a NASCAR Sprint Cup car. Danica Patrick knows that fact all too well after her primary Chevrolet SS was wrecked during practice for Daytona 500 this past Wednesday, forcing her to use her backup car for the approaching Great American Race.
It all started when Patrick was racing in the outside lane and Denny Hamlin moved his car to the inside lane, making it three-wide with Casey Mears on the inside. This might have disrupted the turbulent air near Patrick’s Chevy, as her car then darted to the left, making contact with Hamlin before slamming into the wall.
“I’m obviously disappointed and I know that it was a good car and it’s never a good thing to crash,” Patrick said told RACER. “But, I was just riding along and it turned, so it’s the nature of pack racing and that’s what makes it challenging, too. Sometimes there’s not much you can do about it. I could have collected more people and it wouldn’t have been anything that they were a part of. But that’s just group racing at Daytona.”
It wouldn’t have been so bad if that’s where Patrick’s trouble ended, but during yesterday’s Budweiser Duel qualifying round, her second car was nearly put into the wall, too. As USA Today explains, she was running eighth and needed a top-15 finish when Denny Hamlin pushed the nose of his car up near Danica’s. She claims he made slight contact, which sent her into a spin, collecting Bobby Labonte and Brian Scott before her car came to rest on the infield grass. Luckily for her, she avoided hitting the wall and was able to eventually return to the race.
After three pit stops, Patrick’s car was fixed and she made the push for a 10th place overall finish, enough to earn her a spot on the Daytona 500 grid. Despite the positive outcome, Danica still had a few choice words for Hamlin post-race, saying: “You hit me in the left rear and spun me out. Yesterday you did the same thing.” Hamlin tried to reason with Danica, assuring her he didn’t hit her either on Wednesday or Thursday, and actually gave her extra room after realizing it was her.
Check out Danica’s second crash in the video below, and let us know who you think is at fault in the comments. Even if the wreck was Danica’s doing, we can’t see her giving Hamlin any extra room if they find themselves in a similiar position this Sunday.