Danica Patrick Has Good Luck At Dover


Published on June 6 2017 6:15 am
Last Updated on June 6 2017 6:15 am


Danica Patrick will take the good luck of Sunday at Dover International Speedway considering she has had at least a few races this year where she felt victimized by bad fortune.

Patrick finished 10th, her first top-10 finish since April 2015 at Bristol Motor Speedway, a stretch of 76 races without a top-10. Her seven career top-10 finish is the most ever for a female NASCAR Cup driver.

Patrick was one of eight drivers on the lead lap when the caution came out with 55 laps remaining in the AAA 400. She had fallen back to 16th, restarted the overtime in 15th and drove through the end-of-race wreck to finish 10th.

"We got a bit lucky with staying out at the right time and catching the yellow flags," Patrick said. "It's the stuff that hasn't been happening for us all year, and it's just nice to catch some breaks today."

Patrick is 30th in the NASCAR Cup standings, while all three of her Stewart-Haas Racing teammates are in the top 16. She has not run well on several occasions and seemed to get caught up in a wreck in races where she potentially had a top-15 day.

"We weren't the fastest car today, and I'm not sure we were a top-10 car, but a lot of times we have had a 10th-place car and weren't able to get the finish we needed," Patrick said. "I'll take the lucky days anytime I can, because there have been plenty of times where it went the other way."

Patrick at times took scuffs (already lightly used tires) just to have a "fresher" set of tires. She at one point spun 20 laps into a run and needed a new set of tires.

"We put scuffs on two or three times on pit stops," she said. "It was an issue but we saw that all weekend, a lot of yellows. We survived and caught the right breaks when we did. I'll take it."

More days like Sunday could change the vibe around Patrick with the swirl of questions about her future. Patrick is signed through next season, but the anchor sponsorship (Nature's Bakery) that was supposed to carry her through 2018 is no longer there.

That leaves SHR having to figure out whether it should try to find funding for Patrick for 2018 (few believe that she would continue beyond that season if she doesn't show significant improvement) or whether to find a way to make 2017 her last with the organization.
Xfinity Series: Byron gets cash

William Byron, who finished sixth at Dover, won the final Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus, a boost for him but a missed opportunity for Daniel Hemric.

A driver who earned two of those bonuses in the four races would be treated as if he had a win in terms of qualifying for the playoffs. Justin Allgaier had won two of the bonuses but already has a win. Hemric had won the bonus in the other race.

Hemric, who had to go to the rear for unapproved adjustments after qualifying, was never a factor, not qualifying to be one of the four finalists for the bonus because he wasn't among the top two series regulars in either of the first two stages.

Hemric doesn't have much to worry about, though, as he sits a comfortable fifth in the standings, one of four winless drivers (Elliott Sadler, Byron, Darrell Wallace Jr. are the others) who still have a 100-point cushion on the current playoff cutoff.

Wallace, though, isn't guaranteed to have a ride all season as sponsorship is slim. He won the second stage at Dover but wound up eighth.

"Heartbreak day," Wallace said. "We have one more race left and this one was the one we were going to win, for sure.

"It just didn't happen. We can't get any luck. ... It would have been nice to get the $100,000 [bonus] and bought us our Michigan race that we don't have."
Camping World Truck Series: Sauter finally gets a Monster

Johnny Sauter won at Dover for the first time in nine starts, so that made him excited.

But relief might be a little bit of the word around the GMS Racing team as he got the win that solidified his spot in the playoffs.

Considering he was leading the points, he didn't have to sweat too much. But even a little worry can nag at a driver, and especially a crew chief.

"We're in championship form to say the least," said Sauter, who won the title in 2016.

But ...

"We're just going to hit it hard," Sauter said. "We've got to keep pushing because ultimately, you've got to keep working to try to get to be your best you possibly can be down the stretch like we did last year."