The rain delayed Daytona 500 is Patrick’s best chance for a positive finish for the Daytona Speedweeks.
Danica Patrick travails at the Daytona Speedweeks as a part of her steep learning curve of the NASCAR profession. On Sunday there was a rain delay as the Daytona 500 was postponed for the first time in the event's 53 year history. It's been rescheduled for today (Monday). However when racing resumes, Patrick will try to salvage a weekend that was full of ups and downs, particularly downs. On Thursday she experienced the worst crash of her fledgling NASCAR career.
Friday was a huge improvement as she won her first NASCAR pole, setting the fastest speed in qualifying for her main event, Drive4COPD 300, the first round of the Nationwide series. Although her participation in the Daytona 500 made most of the headlines during the run up to the great race, her overall success in the second tier 33 round championship is her main priority for the 2012 season. Winning the pole for the first round was a promising start. However that promise came to a shuddering halt as she once again was bumped out of the race, this time by teammate Cole Whitt who lightly nudged her Chevrolet's rear bumper at Turn 3.
After the race Whitt explained that they were doing a two-car draft technique in order to move to the front, as he was the pusher. This time the trick ended in tears as Patrick's Chevrolet swerved left and right, ran up the banking, smashed into the wall and was sent down among speeding competitors to the infield.
From there she made her way crawling to the pits and waited in her car during while it was repaired. She went back to the track to salvage 7 championship points for a 27th place finish. "I don't think it's ever great when teammates come together," Patrick said after the race. "We'll have to figure out what happened and move forward." After two accidents, though not directly her fault, Patrick hopes to have a good run at the delayed Daytona 500. "I'm nervous, to be honest," said Patrick whose nerves were strained a bit more than usual. "There's a lot on the line. I want to have a good day."
Those nerves were evident also in her radio communications with her pit crew after she was bumped by her teammate. It was only the delayed transmission by ESPN that prevented viewers from hearing Patrick's full F-Bomb happy vocabulary. "There are so many other days where your car isn't perfect, or isn't great, or isn't super-fast, and nothing happens to you," she explained later. "You think, 'Why, on the days when I have a really fast car, does it have to happen today?' But it did, and we'll move on." The Daytona 500 is the perfect opportunity to do that.