Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Danica Patrick react after their top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway.
Team communication, avoiding wrecks helped
Patrick : 'Just having the intended (SHR) group together is good...'
Regan Smith spins out after bumping Danica Patrick , while Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne and others make contact trying to avoid the spin.
Stewart-Haas Racing driver rallies from late wreck to make Daytona 500 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Daytona 500 starting lineup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the second time this week, Danica Patrick wound up with a wrecked race car and on both occasions fellow driver Denny Hamlin was seen as the culprit. And Patrick , driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet, wasn’t happy. MORE: @nascarcasm's take on incident Barely one day after an incident with Hamlin during practice had sent her bouncing off the wall, Patrick was once again going for an unintentional spin at Daytona International Speedway. This time it was in the second of two Budweiser Duel qualifying races. This time it was for keeps. A bad finish and Patrick's Daytona 500 hopes could have vanished. Although she rallied to finish 10th thanks to a green-white-checkered finish that extended the race four laps beyond it's scheduled 60-lap distance, Patrick wasted no time in finding Hamlin after the race. Moments after pulling onto pit road, she climbed from her damaged car and quickly headed for Hamlin’s stopped entry. Hamlin met her halfway, no doubt anticipating a confrontation. MORE: Underdogs make way into Daytona 500 field When Patrick reached up and grasped Hamlin's fire suit with both hands, Hamlin likely realized his expectations had been correct. "You did the same thing," Patrick said, referring to the Wednesday incident. "Tighten what up? Nobody else left me with a problem out there." "Nobody has your back like I have it," Hamlin said. "Stop. Listen to me. But I can’t give you an extra two feet because it’s you." "You give me nothing. You give me nothing. It spun my back end around!" countered Patrick . Hamlin: "I understand. It’s because you’re loose. It’s not my problem if you’re loose." Patrick : "Nobody else did it to me." Hamlin: "Then nobody else is getting close to you. We have to get close to you. To get you going forward, we have to get close to you. I know it got you loose." Patrick : "You spun me out. Just like in practice. When I looked in my rearview mirror and you were right here. You weren’t here; you were here." Hamlin: "Absolutely. You were loose entering the corners …" Patrick : “Because you … Denny. It happened twice. The same person, the same way.” Hamlin: "But guess what. I didn’t hit you either time." Patrick : "Well then apparently you don’t have to actually hit me. I like you Denny, you’re my friend." Hamlin: "Does it mean like, 'oh my god, she's loose. I can't run next to her?' What should I do?" Patrick : "It just means don't be up my ass on my left corner … you did it on the straightaway and then you did it in the corner that time. Both times exact same results." Hamlin: "I won't get close to you. I understand now." Patrick : "You can get close; I'm sure everybody gets close. But you don't need to turn me. That's what it did." Denny: "I know it did. I totally get it, but it's something they have to work on." At that point, Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR, arrives and chides Hamlin. "Tony, I never touched her," Hamlin said. "I never touched her. What do you want me to do? Not run close?" "You watch the video," Stewart said. And with that, the party broke up. Patrick had managed to secure her spot in Sunday's Daytona 500. Because of the severity of damage in Thursday's crash, Patrick will be back behind the wheel of the car she drove to a 10th-place finish last Saturday's Sprint Unlimited for the remainder of the week. She’ll line up 20th for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Hamlin will start 42nd. PHOTOS: Best images from the Daytona Duels MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Patrick suffers minor damage from contact Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge MORE: Complete Sprint Unlimited results Danica Patrick's car was dinged from some three-wide racing with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon in the Sprint Unlimited, but Stenhouse and Dillon took the brunt of the damage. RELATED: See the best photos from Saturday's race The incident on Lap 62 brought Patrick to pit road quickly, and she would lose a lap. She had spent some of the race running in the top five but had to make multiple pit stops to repair the damage. Stenhouse Jr. smacked the wall, while Dillon went for a spin after the two made contact. Both Stenhouse Jr. and Dillon's car suffered enough damage to put them several laps down. Patrick would go on to finish the race in 10th place, while Stenhouse Jr. and Dillon would finish 16th and 17th, respectively, 14 laps down. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Interim tag dropped from Knost; pair together for final three races of '14 MORE: Danica dons Mardi Gras mask " See who else in on the move in 2015 Daniel Knost will serve as crew chief for Danica Patrick in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A spokesperson for her Stewart-Haas Racing team confirmed to NASCAR.com on Monday afternoon that the interim tag had been removed from Knost's title. Patrick , 32, completed her second full Sprint Cup season last year with three top-10 finishes and a final rank of 28th in the driver standings. She was paired with Tony Gibson for the bulk of her two seasons in the Stewart-Haas No. 10 Chevrolet until a late-season switch teamed her with Knost for the last three races of 2014. As part of her offseason travel, Patrick served as grand marshal of the parade ahead of Sunday's GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. During a break in the college football festivities, Patrick told the website AL.com that the potential for success with Knost has her anxious for what the new season may hold. "I think something new is both scary but also exciting. Until you go there you don't know how great it could be," Patrick told AL.com. "We worked together a little bit at the end of last season. I think that was a really good thing to do in preparation for 2015. Everybody at Stewart-Haas has been working very hard to make sure that every team is as good from top to bottom as possible, and we'll probably have some changes for next year within the team, but it's like I said, you never know what you can have until you dare to try something different. Daniel is a very smart guy and I'm excited to see what we can do." Knost, 36, began his first year as a crew chief in NASCAR's premier series working with Kurt Busch on the team's No. 41 Chevrolet. The pairing paid dividends early on with a regular-season victory at Martinsville Speedway that clinched a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff berth for Busch, but the two struggled to find consistency in Busch's first year with the team. Busch netted six top-five finishes in 2014, but was among the first four drivers eliminated in the new Chase format. Patrick showed signs of progress during Gibson's tenure with the No. 10 team as she twice bettered her career-bests during last season -- first with a seventh place at Kansas in May, then with a sixth-place run at Atlanta on Labor Day weekend. But consistency was again a precious commodity: Patrick finished on the lead lap in just 19 of the year's 36 races. Hoping to jump-start both teams, Greg Zipadelli -- Stewart-Haas Racing 's vice president of competition -- announced in October at Martinsville that for the year's final three races, Knost would pair with Patrick on an interim basis and that Gibson would work with Busch. Patrick closed out the season with finishes of 36th, 22nd and 18th; Busch posted results of eighth, seventh and 11th over the same span. With Monday's confirmation by the team, Patrick will enter her third full season at stock-car racing's highest level paired with Knost's deep background in engineering. Gibson, her former crew chief, will continue to bring his old-school sensibilities to Busch's efforts. "I think long-term it's the right thing," Zipadelli said last fall, after news of the switch was announced. "There might be a step back while they learn each other and they grow, but long-term -- a full year, two years from now -- I think their personalities between Daniel and Danica will work together much better, and I think at the same time, the same thing will happen on the 41 car." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver, sponsor 'Go Pink' to support breast cancer awareness RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Danica Patrick , at just a shade over 5 feet tall, was fidgety. Sitting on a couch overlooking the lobby of Stewart-Haas Racing , her feet failed to touch the ground. But there's no denying the big impact this diminutive driver has had on breast cancer awareness. In her sophomore season as a full-time Sprint Cup driver, Patrick and sponsor GoDaddy continued their "Go Pink" campaign in the fight against the disease. Patrick , as she did last season, competed in a pink No. 10 Chevrolet during the month of October. On a typically busy day, Patrick took time out between photo shoots to talk with "NASCAR Illustrated" about this year's program. NASCAR Illustrated: This has become a special initiative for you and GoDaddy. What are some of the highlights for 2014? Danica Patrick : Well, the same beautiful pink suit is back. I do love the rich pink color of it and what it signifies. If you go to GoDaddy.com/donate, you can donate $10 or more and you can put someone's name on my Martinsville car. To honor someone who's been affected or maybe not made it. It's a good way to donate and help the cause and be part of a NASCAR race. NI: Do you have any friends or family who've been affected by the disease? Patrick : I do. I have a friend who I grew up with who benefitted from the technology of being able to detect the breast cancer gene. She preventively had a double mastectomy in her mid-20s. For me, I'm grateful for everything that people have done for so long with donating and just making the general public so aware of this disease. NI: The pink color really pops and it's synonymous with this cause. How prominent is pink in your personal wardrobe? Is it a color you usually gravitate towards? Patrick : The pink and green go really good together. They're a nice color package. I probably stayed away from pink for a long time at least around racing anyway. It's pretty obvious I'm a girl. I don't need to slap pink on and make it even more obvious. It's kind of funny actually about putting this suit on and it being pink and saying I love it, how I steered away from making it so obvious I'm a girl. It just shows me how much I'm thinking about the cause as opposed to anything else, what it stands for to wear pink in October. I mean, if football players can go out there and wear pink on game day then so can I. NI: Do you get a different type of satisfaction from this compared to a typical sponsor relationship? Patrick : I see it as working with your partners to do more together and deepen that relationship by giving back together. For me, obviously, using the platform of racing and what I do and doing things like this to just having that pride that your sponsor is doing something to give back as well, giving up their whole car livery and color scheme to raise awareness for something else other than them. NI: It would seem one of the big perks of your job is being able to use your celebrity in an effort to help others. How gratifying is that for you on a personal level? Patrick : I feel like it's a responsibility maybe more than anything that so many people pay attention, that there are so many NASCAR fans and fans of mine, I'm very fortunate, and I feel like it's a pretty cool privilege to use that for other things. So I feel a responsibility to it. I feel it's part of the deal. I get so much from so many other people; it's a responsibility to give back. NI: You've done ride-alongs and met a lot of survivors. Has there been one story that's really resonated or is it more just a collective impact? Patrick : With breast cancer, it's just a vibe within the group. They're always in a great mood. They have such camaraderie, such optimism and they do really cool and empowering things along the way like go out and ride 130-140 mph in a car with me around a race track without a helmet on and just a seatbelt. They're doing things that I've been told in the past, that this is stuff that I'd have never done or been brave enough before breast cancer and now I am. It's just stuff to make them happy, smile and get together and have that sense of community around it because they're all going through the same hell, to be honest. There's a certain level of comfort for them to be around other people that are going through it and can share. NI: What's going to make this a successful campaign for you, how will you know you've made the impact you've wanted to? Is it numbers or feelings? Patrick : I've been involved in lots of different awareness campaigns and you don't see the fruits of your labor now, next year or the year after. It's stuff that just over time -- it's a movement. I don't think we're going to see the efforts that we've made in the very moment or right away in the immediate future. I think that's something that you see later on. Probably the most immediate stuff would be the funds raised to do more research and to learn more about the disease and to try and find a cure. But over time, 10 and 20 years later, what did that movement do to the general public and how much of an issue is the disease now? And we can't know that yet. Thanks 4 backing NBCF @GoDaddy Oct. drive 2 ‘Put the Brakes on Breast Cancer’ we raised $29K to add to the big check! pic.twitter.com/gYAH2BnZcs — Danica Racing Online (@danicaracing) October 31, 2014 SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Danica Patrick reacts to Denny Hamlin's explanation of their incident late in the second Budweiser Duel at Daytona International Speedway.
Watch the full video of Danica Patrick's post-race confrontation with Denny Hamlin following Budweiser Duel No. 2 at Daytona International Speedway.