Patrick surprise of Kansas with career-best run

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 11, 2014 at 11:56 am •  Published: May 11, 2014
Advertisement
;

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Danica Patrick added another May moment to cherish.

"Chicks rule, huh?" crew chief Tony Gibson playfully told her at Kansas.

She may not have totally ruled, but she put on a performance that recalled her better ones at the Indianapolis 500. Patrick showed that she can be a serious driver who can craft a complete weekend and contend for a top-five finish.

Patrick was the surprise of Saturday night with her seventh-place finish at Kansas Speedway, the best of her Cup career.

Stewart-Haas Racing boss and teammate Tony Stewart, Gibson, and her parents were among the throng of well-wishers in the garage that made it a celebratory scene straight out of her dazzling Daytona 500 to kick off 2013.

"I've always believed in myself and with the right situation, a good car, that I can do it," she said.

She easily had her best weekend of the season, spending most of the race inside the top 10, and brought a needed jolt of electricity in a race during which the lights went out on the backstretch, passing teammate Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to move into third with 95 laps left.

She also passed six-time champion Jimmie Johnson on a late restart, adding him to the collection of heavy hitters left in the rearview mirror.

"The most rewarding part of my night was probably when I drove around the outside of the No. 48 on a restart," he said. "That was probably my most rewarding thing of the night. I say that with all the respect in the world. It's a big deal because he is Jimmie Johnson."

Patrick hadn't finished better this season than 14th at Fontana and her lone top-10 in the Cup series was eighth in the 2013 Daytona 500. She won a pole at Kansas in IndyCar in 2005.

Patrick qualified ninth for her second straight top-10 start, and SHR teammate Kevin Harvick said a little 15-minute pep talk may have spurred her to another solid qualifying run.

"She just basically needed to quit thinking about it and smash the gas," he said. "That's what she said. She's done a great job in trying to take in all the information."

She has the support system and even the car necessary to finish better than in the back of the pack. Patrick wants to reward their faith in her.



Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Report: TCU star Devonte Fields a suspect in domestic disturbance call
  2. 2
    Gary Williams thinks Kevin Durant will settle down in Washington D.C. area one day
  3. 3
    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher explains why Jameis Winston went unpunished
  4. 4
    Former Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein joins Wildcats football staff
  5. 5
    Native American tribe cancels Ted Nugent show, cites 'racist' views
+ show more