DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Danica Patrick’s 2016 Sprint Cup season got off to a tough start with a costly pit penalty and a wild ride through the backstretch grass in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
After starting 16th,Patrick had enjoyed a quietly solid day in the Sprint Cup season opener until the first round of green-flag stops began on Lap 156. Patrick pitted on Lap 157, and her team was penalized for going over the wall too soon. She lost the draft and soon fell a lap down.
While running outside the top 30 on Lap 184, Patrick got bumped while seeming to block Greg Biffle off Turn 2, sending her No. 10 Chevrolet into a spin through the grass. Though her car caught air a few times, she managed to keep it off the wall.
Patrick immediately headed to the garage with major damage. She finished 35th, her worst Daytona 500 showing since a 40th in 2014.
Patrick made history as a Sprint Cup rookie in 2013, starting from the pole and becoming the first woman to lead the Great American Race.