Danica Patrick’s NASCAR debut ended up with a disappointing 38th position in the rain-delayed Daytona 500 on Monday after her neon green GoDaddy.com car got involved in a six-car chain reaction crash on the race’s second lap.
USA Today reports that the accident occurred just minutes after the green flag dropped Monday night when Patrick got cracked by five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson after he’d been spun out by Elliott Sadler.
There was no way she could avoid the wreck – the third time in three races here this weekend she was involved in an accident that wasn’t her fault. Two other drivers – last year’s Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne and David Ragan – were involved in the wreck.
After the mishap, Patrick’s crew worked quickly to make extensive repairs to her battered car and get her back in the race.
“Any lap that I turn is progression, that’s for sure,” Patrick said. “That’s why I was so proud of everyone working hard _ and they were working hard to get me back on the track. There wasn’t much to gain as far as position-wise, but what there was to gain was for me to get the experience running out there.”
Upon her return, however, Danica was down 62 laps to the leaders and wound up finishing 38th in the race which was eventually won by Matt Kenseth.
Asked to reflect on her first Daytona 500, Patrick offered a bigger perspective.
“I kind of feel like I almost need to put the whole week in perspective; it’s just been up and down,” she said. “Everything from running good in the Duels to crashing on the last lap, to qualifying on the (Nationwide) pole, to running well in the Nationwide to crashing; and a lot of this stuff obviously is out of your control at times and that’s kind of the exciting time about Daytona and big tracks is that anything can happen and will happen as we’ve seen.
Check out Danica Patrick’s crash during the 2012 Daytona 500 in the video below: