Patrick Has Another Confrontation, Another Mediocre Starting Position

Sunday, July 20, 2008

That win earlier this year in Japan must seem like a long time ago to Danica Patrick.

Since her first IndyCar Series victory on April 20, Patrick has struggled to be competitive. Her fifth-place finish last Saturday at Nashville was her first top-five since Motegi. And Patrick was hoping it would be the catalyst for a big finish to the 2008 season.

"That is the kind of stuff that I would, should, could be doing every weekend," Patrick said. "It has been a tough year for me, really. We just haven't really settled on good racecars and we have missed it in the races. We were a lot closer to it at the race at Nashville."

But, if yesterday is any indication, the Honda Indy 200 may be just more of the same struggles that she has faced so many times in the past three months.

Patrick, who started a career-best second here a year ago, was 11th in the morning practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

After getting out of her car, Patrick walked to where Milka Duno, the only other woman in this weekend's race, was pitted and confronted the driver about getting in her way several times during the practice.

The confrontation lasted about a minute, but witnesses said was heated and that Duno flung a towel in Patrick's direction as the two exchanged words before Patrick walked away.

Patrick, who has previously confronted fellow drivers Dan Wheldon and Ryan Briscoe after racing incidents, brushed off the latest dust-up, saying, "I just wanted to know if she saw me out there."

Things didn't get better for Patrick after the confrontation.

She failed to get past the first of three rounds in the knockout-style time trials and will start 20th on the 26-car grid in today's race. Duno qualified last. . . .

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton edged Felipe Massa on the final lap to take the pole for today's German Grand Prix in Hockenheim.

Hamilton went around in 1 minute 15.666 seconds on his last lap to beat the Ferrari driver by 0.193 of a second and start first on the grid for the third time this season.

Hamilton is coming off a 68-second victory at the British GP that gave him the advantage in a three-way tie atop the Formula One standings. The Briton has the tiebreaker against Ferrari drivers Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, who also have 48 points.

No McLaren driver has won at Hockenheim since Mika Hakkinen10 years ago, while Ferrari has five victories in Germany since then.

· DEW TOUR: Olympic gold medalist Shaun White won the skateboard vert event, and Paul Rodriguez won the skateboard park event at the Right Guard Open in Cleveland.

White took the lead in his second run, showing finesse and amplitude with a combination of 540s and 720s. Many of White's competitors fell during their runs while attempting to unseat him. White earned a score of 92.00, Bucky Lasek finished second with 88.25, and Bob Burnquist was third with 87.25.

Rodriguez earned an average score of 90.75, and 14-year-old Chaz Ortiz was second with 90.70. Rodolfo Ramos was third with 88.50.

Jamie Bestwick won the BMX vert event. As the last two athletes to ride in the finals, Bestwick and Chad Kagy were tied for the lead with 94.50. Bestwick executed a flawless run, which included a downside tailwhip X up, and Kagy fell while attempting a double whip flair and placed second.

· HORSE RACING: The California Horse Racing Board has unanimously adopted a regulation that effectively bans anabolic steroids in horses running in the state.

The board moved the anabolic steroids testosterone, boldenone, nandrolone, and stanozolol into a higher classification, so that now, without exception, any steroid violation will result in the disqualification of the horse.

Under new penalties, violations could result in a minimum 30-day suspension.

The new rules must still be approved by the Office of Administrative Law, which can take up to two months.

But the racing board expects the process to be completed well before the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita in Arcadia.

· TENNIS: Top-seeded James Blake struggled after a rain delay and was upset by defending champion Dimitry Tursunov, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the semifinals of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships.

Tursunov, the third seed, will meet second-seeded Gilles Simon of France in today's championship match. Simon outlasted fourth-seeded American Sam Querrey, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in the other semifinal. . . .

The visiting Washington Kastles lost, 24-13, to the Kansas City Explorers (10-1), who already have clinched a World TeamTennis playoff berth. The Kastles fell to 5-6.

· BASKETBALL: Katie Douglas scored nine of her 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Indiana Fever post a 71-55 win over the New York Liberty in the WNBA's first outdoor game, played on a court laid on top of the tennis court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Game-time temperature at 7:30 p.m. was 87 degrees. . . .

In San Antonio, Seimone Augustus made 11 straight shots from the floor and finished with 30 points to lead the Minnesota Lynx to an 87-74 victory over the Silver Stars. . . .

In Houston, Michelle Snow scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Comets to a 75-72 overtime win over the Los Angeles Sparks. Snow made seven of her 17 shots from the floor, including the decisive free throws in overtime. . . .

In Phoenix, Diana Taurasi scored 21 points in 22 minutes to lead the Mercury past the Atlanta Dream, 110-84.

-- From News Services

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