This wasn’t the Daytona 500 in which Danica Patrick was going to get any closer to silencing Richard Petty.
She finished 40th after being knocked out of the race in a crash caused by Kevin Harvick, her Stewart-Haas Racing teammate. Harvick pushed Aric Almirola, who slid down and tapped Patrick. Her car shot across the track, spun and crashed head-on into the wall at the front stretch of the track before sliding back across the track and into the infield.
Patrick, who finished eighth in her first Daytona 500 a year ago,
“It’s a bummer,” Patrick said. “But you know that is the excitement of speedway racing that anything can happen, and it was unfortunate that I was on the short end of the accident. But that is the kind of thing that happens.”
Patrick was treated briefly and examined at the infield care center. It was a sudden end to a surreal week at Daytona, one that began with Petty questioning her ability as a racer. She would win, he said, “if everybody else stayed home.” That set off Tony Stewart, owner of her racing team. He challenged Petty to race against Patrick and said that, when Patrick won, she should “take [the checkered flag] and cram it up his [butt].”