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Danica Patrick Crash

February 24, 2012 by staff 

Danica Patrick Crash, Danica Patrick walked away OK after taking a hard hit to the wall in her qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday.

Her race car didn’t fare quite so well. Patrick was caught up in a crash on the final lap of the first of two 150-mile qualifying races, sending her car into the wall on the backstretch. The wreck ripped the front end off Patrick’s car, and she’ll have to use a backup car in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

After being released from the infield medical care center, Patrick said she hoped her backup car might be even faster than her primary car.

“I’m just very disappointed that the car got crashed with two corners to go,” Patrick said. “It’s not how we wanted to roll into Sunday. We wanted to just be cool, calm and collected with no damage. But like I said, maybe that backup car’s fast.”

Maybe, she joked, the accident will turn out to be a “blessing in big disguise.”

But Patrick’s race strategist, Greg Zipadelli, was in no mood for jokes as his team tended to Patrick’s wrecked car.

“Her biggest thing was she wanted to go out there and ride with a bunch of guys and be in there and earn the respect of them – she can do this, she’s not all over the place,” Zipadelli said. “I mean, I never saw her car move. I saw a lot of grown men couldn’t keep their car under control. So maybe they need to work on that.”

Patrick wasn’t even sure what happened to cause the crash.

“I just got hit,” Patrick said. “Just running on the bottom lane and I’m betting it was the chain reaction from the outside, it looked like. Guys get so close on the side drafting that they’re touching you sometimes. I’m sure that at times, maybe in that situation it was a `hitting’ side draft. It was just probably a chain reaction.”

Tony Stewart, Patrick’s team owner for a part-time schedule in the Sprint Cup Series this season, tried to keep an eye on his driver as he also ran the first race – which Stewart ended up winning.

“I’ll get a better shot (at) understanding exactly how her race went when I get to see a replay of the race,” Stewart said. “The little bit I could see, I thought she did a good job. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind she would do that.”

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