Danica Patrick is having a very rough go of it during her NASCAR rookie season. She’s earned the nickname “1 lap Downica” because she’s consistently finishing in the mid to late 20s in recent races. Or even worse.
This isn’t a scientific measure by any means, but when you fall to 21st or 22nd place in NASCAR race, you are one lap down.
Despite qualifying 24th, Danica was forced to start in the rear of the field for the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway due to an engine change the team made following first practice on Saturday. Danica fought her way through the field despite being mired deep in traffic.
Danica put in a solid performance and appeared headed to a solid top-20 finish. Then this happened:
Past the three-quarter mark of the 400-lap race she got caught up in a wreck at lap 319. Danica was in the middle of a three-wide battle when she made contact with Brad Keselowski, who later took blame for the incident. Keselowski apparently came down on Patrick, which sent her nose first into the turn three outside retaining wall and led to extensive damage to her racecar.
Patrick’s Chevy Impala sustained heavy right front and right fender damage, but she was able to drive her No. 10 Chevy to pit road for a series of lengthy repairs over the course of multiple pit stops. Patrick was able to continue but finished the race in a disappointing 29th-place, 15 laps down to the leaders. That’s a lot more than “1 Lap Downica”
Maybe Danica should switch her Chevy to a Corvette instead. Prince used to sing about a “Little Red Corvette” that “baby, you’re much too fast. Honey I said, little red Corvette you’ve got to slow down. Got to slow down.” So this corvette is obviously a fast car.
“We obviously started from the back, and track position was really important here at Charlotte,” said Danica Patrick, who made her 22nd career Sprint Cup start and her second at Charlotte. “We fought our way back to trying to be in a position to be on the lead lap. I felt like we were making real progress and starting to get the car to a place that was really good and had an accident, which is unfortunate because we were moving up. But there’s nothing we can do about it now. We just need some luck.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and YardbarkerPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks