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DANICA PATRICK - 2014 New Hampshire I Race Report
Danica Patrick battled a tight-handling car and finished 22nd in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), started 29th but went a lap down on lap 84. She and crew chief Tony Gibson then chose to not pit under caution on lap 115, taking the wave-around to get back on the lead lap when the race restarted. Then on lap 153, just as Patrick was about to pit and go back a lap down, the caution flew, allowing her to remain on the lead lap and pit for much-needed service.
After pitting for four fresh tires, Patrick then restarted 23rd, but that was pretty much it. She reached as high as 18th but was running 22nd when the checkered flag flew.
“We were just too tight late in the race,” Patrick said. “We were pretty much between 18th and 23rd all day and ended up 22nd. It’s not the best day, but we’ve had lots worse, too. I’d like to thank the GoDaddy crew. I think it will be nice to get the off week and get to Indianapolis in a couple of weeks and see what we’ve got.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, led the four-car SHR contingent by finishing seventh. He qualified fourth and drove to his sixth top-10 this season and his 18th top-10 in 30 career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire. It was also his 296th top-10 in 540 career Sprint Cup starts.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 18th and finished 17th after leading one lap.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 12th and was running second on the final restart but ran out of gas and finished 30th.
Brad Keselowski won the Camping World RV Sales 301 to score his 13th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his first at New Hampshire.
Kyle Busch finished .750 of a second behind Keselowski in the runner-up spot, while rookie Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five. Clint Bowyer, Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 35 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 305-lap race, which was extended four laps by a green-white-checkered finish.
With round 19 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR in the championship point standings. He is 13th with 528 points, 142 behind series leader Jeff Gordon. Stewart is 19th with 502 points, 168 out of first. Kurt Busch is 25th with 440 points, 230 out of first. Patrick is 27th with 380 points, 290 out of first.
Sprint Cup teams will enjoy their second and final off-weekend of the 2014 season before embarking on a slate of 17 consecutive races, beginning with the July 27 Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 21st running of the event begins at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its prerace show at noon.