Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet was destroyed on Wednesday during a collision on the first lap of practice for the Daytona 500.
Patrick was on the outside lane when Denny Hamlin made a move to go into the middle. Replays showed that Patrick made a move down. The contact with Hamlin turned Patrick, sent her into the wall and caused a chain reaction behind her that collected Jeb Burton and Michael Annett.
“I guess I’ll take the blame,” Hamlin said in a pit-road interview. “I was going through the middle, which in practice you can’t be so aggressive … you want to protect your car, but we also have to put ourselves in positions where we have to figure out what our car is doing. I went through the middle, it was really wide. As soon as I already got in beside her, the lane closed …”
Patrick was uninjured after her car careened across the infield, damaging it beyond repair. She will have to go to a backup car and start from the rear of the field in Thursday night’s Budweiser Duels that determine the field for the Daytona 500.
“I was following the No. 6 (Johnny Sauter),” Patrick said after emerging from the infield health center. “He (Hamlin) pulled out in front of me in our lane out of (Turn) 2. I was riding behind him, and the car sort of started turning toward the right and the back end was coming around and then it swapped ends.
“So, it just looked like he was trying to pull out and make a third lane in the middle and it felt like it must have caught my bumper. It’s the nature of pack racing at Daytona, and that’s what makes it challenging, too.”
Annett will have to go a backup car, but Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota was being repaired.