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Danica Patrick finishes career-best 6th after G-W-C craziness in Atlanta

Sep 1, 2014, 1:25 AM EDT

Oral-B USA 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

In her best drive of the season, Danica Patrick finished sixth Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway – a new career-best result for her in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Her previous best had been a seventh at Kansas this past May.

“That race felt like it was 700 miles,” Patrick told ESPN. “Sometimes when you’re running well, they feel like that because you’re just hoping it stays there and it keeps going well, you keep improving, you don’t lose it.

“And there were definitely a couple of times later in the race where we fell back. The middle of the race, the car was very good and it took a little step back. But it came back at the end and [crew chief Tony] Gibson just reset everything to where we were when we were running well.”

Patrick had been running in the lower reaches of the Top 10 for much of the night before an incident involving Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. brought out the caution with just two laps to go in the scheduled 325-lap distance.

Before the first GWC attempt, Patrick came in for pit service and moved up one spot to seventh thanks to a lightning-quick stop.

That was important, because it allowed her to go on the inside lane for GWC1; moments after the green flag, Patrick was able to dodge a crash involving Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard on the outside lane and move up to fourth.

“…There were a couple of rough [stops] in the beginning, but [the last one] made up for all of it because that put us seventh for the restart,” she said. “We had a good line on the inside and didn’t get caught up on the outside.”

Patrick couldn’t stay in the Top 5 during GWC2, but she was still very happy for herself and the team. She also hopes that she’s got some momentum heading into next weekend’s race at Richmond, where she’s finished 29th, 30th, and 34th in her Cup career.

“We’ve really had pretty fast cars for quite a while now and not really great finishes to show for it,” she said. “…I’ve sucked at Richmond every time, so I sure hope I can run well at Richmond now.”

  1. wethog66 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    Progress

    • sstoogemutt - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Even bad drivers get lucky sometimes.But it’s still not a win.

    • sstoogemutt - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      If she can do this or better several times then I’ll respect her as a driver. She just got lucky this time even though it’s not a win.But the media will treat her like she won the race just because she’s a woman.Why I don’t know.

      • wethog66 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        I am as critical of the media attention on Patrick as anyone, but I watched the race. She was up in the top 10, or just outside it, all night just about. She earned that finish.

        Having said that, she should be competing for top 5’s and wins by now. If she was a Man the only media coverage she would be getting is that she is looking for a new sponsor and/or new ride.

        As far as respect goes, I respect her and all the drivers that run at close to 200 mph in what amounts to rush hour traffic. Could you do it, sstoogemutt?

  2. fansrus - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:38 AM

    What part of “this is not a real sport” don’t you get?

  3. bwillyc - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Hey, she beat 35 guys, right?

  4. camino409robert1026 - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Danica managed to keep her car clean & beat 37 other competitors! Great, now what is wrong with the woman doing great? I hope she continues the good job. You go Danica!!!

  5. evilbuddyp - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    She got to this position by luck, not by skill. Her “abilities” are what she has off the track.

    • wethog66 - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      Could you run a stock car like her?

  6. convincedofthehex - Sep 1, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    I see the misogynistic Neanderthals have come to comment. I’d like to see any of you clowns try driving against her.

  7. theracefan - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Not hard to do when a bunch of leading cars are gone. She is still a loser.

    • wethog66 - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      Can you do it?

  8. aug99 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I am not a big Danica fan, but, WELL DONE DANICA.
    I am impressed.
    A great job.

  9. worknman24hours - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Nice to see.

    I saw her at fourth at one time and was hoping for a miracle finish but frankly,Kasey Kahne was the guy who earned the win TWICE so I was’nt too unhappy Danica did’nt win.

    But nice finish Danica.

    Gotta work on those restarts.

    NASCAR should drop green-white-checkered though.

    Makes the racers who worked all night running clean and true at the front into a meaningless bunch of backmarkers very quickly.

    Just don’t seem right but that has nothing to do with Danica.

    Congrats Little Bits,on your best finish so far.

  10. Linda - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Danica is old news. She’s been going to driving school in the middle of the Sprint Cup season for two years. Odds are every now and then you are going to have a decent finish. Did she keep her nose clean? Yes. Did she earn 7th place? I don’t think so. Had it not been for a convenient caution for the ever illusive debris on the back straight away early in the race when she was a lap down, she would have been multiple laps down just like most of the rest of the field. She didn’t do bad, but she hardly did great. Why the media keeps telling us that she is the best thing since sliced bread, oh forgot, that’s Logano, I’ll never know. At least Joey earns the attention.

    Kahne made the last five laps really exciting. Other than that the only race that I have seen that was more boring was Saturday night’s Nationwide yawner.

    • stephenwh - Sep 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      She earned 7th place by definition, you mental giant.

  11. buckeye044 - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Sixth…….since NASCAR makes up rules as they go, I imagine they will award her a position in the chase.

  12. techmeister1 - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Wow the hate that is spewed by the mentally unstable here is outrageous.

    For those who didn’t actually bother to watch the race, Danica qualified well and raced well all night. She didn’t get lucky, she actually moved forward most of the night until they went too far on adjustments and she dropped back to 15th. They changed back on the next pit stop and she drove back up to a top 10 spot and even made it up to 4th at one point.

    Considering she only has about three seasons in CRASHCAR compared to most drivers who have grown up in CRASHCAR, she’s doing rather well. Those who actually know about CRASHCAR racing will tell you that she has made significant progress this year and it’s likely she will continue to learn and get better finishes. Expecting her to win without some luck is unrealistic. When you consider her boss Stewart, Harvick and Kurt Bush all finished behind her, you know she did an excellent job of driving and avoiding wrecks including just getting by Harvick’s wreck. But of course if you’re just an ass clown hater then you missed all of her efforts to score a top ten finish.

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