Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy/Get Found Chevrolet SS, finished 32nd in the STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Patrick started 10th, her best Sprint Cup starting position at a non-restrictor plate racetrack, but had to deal with an ill-handling car early in the 500-lap race. The No. 10 Chevrolet was tight in the middle of the corners and loose off, causing Patrick to lose track position early at the .526-mile oval.
“It was a disappointing day,” Patrick said. “We ran so well at Martinsville last year, but we struggled all race long today. It’s disappointing for everyone on the GoDaddy team. We had high hopes coming into this race based off what we accomplished last year, but we missed the setup. Tony (Gibson, crew chief) made changes every time we came to pit road and really hit on something around halfway. But by that point, we were already a couple of laps down.”
The GoDaddy/Get Found team gambled by staying out on two late-race cautions – on lap 341 and again on lap 412 – to try and regain laps, but the strategy didn’t pay off as Patrick had to pit under green-flag conditions late in the race, causing the team to lose additional laps.
“We tried staying out on a couple of the cautions to take the wave-around and get a couple of laps back,” Patrick said. “It wound up biting us toward the end when we had to make a green-flag pit stop because the tires were killed. Needless to say, it wasn’t the finish we were looking for today.”
Enjoying a much better day was Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Kurt Busch. The driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS won the STP 500 by .263 of a second over six-time Sprint Cup champion and eight-time Martinsville race winner Jimmie Johnson.