Danica Patrick gets spun by Ryan Newman into the wall and comes down in front of David Ragan, leading to a red flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
RELATED: Danica signs deal with Nature's Bakery Danica Patrick will have Aspen Dental on board as a primary sponsor for four races in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as part of a multi-year partnership extension with Stewart-Haas Racing . Aspen Dental will continue to serve as an associate sponsor for Patrick in all her other Sprint Cup Series races. "Working with Aspen Dental dentists has been a real pleasure," Patrick said in a release provided by the team. "I love partnering with organizations that care about people, and teaming up with an organization that has such an important mission -- breaking down barriers and helping patients get the dental care they need -- is very rewarding. Aspen Dental dentists raise awareness about the importance of oral health every day, and I look forward to shining a spotlight on the great work they do." For the past two seasons, Aspen Dental has been a primary sponsor for two races annually for Patrick ’s No. 10 Chevrolet team. The company is the primary sponsor this weekend for Patrick at Chicagoland Speedway for the myAFibRisk.com 400 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Her No. 10 Chevrolet will have the names of more than 2,200 veterans being honored by their family and friends via a social media campaign earlier this year. " Danica is an excellent ambassador for Aspen Dental practices and this renewed partnership is a testament to all of the hard work everyone puts in to making this sponsorship successful," SHR co-owner and three-time champion Tony Stewart said in a team release. Last month, SHR announced that Nature's Bakery was coming on board for 28 races a season as a primary sponsor for Patrick . SHR also announced a multi-year contract extension for Patrick at that time as well. Entering Chicagoland, Patrick is 24th in the point standings with two top 10s this season.
A solid day for Danica Patrick turned sour as Sunday's event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway entered the final 100 laps when a heavy crash caused a red flag and ended her race early. The Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet of Patrick , who was running on the fringes of the top 10, was turned sideways on Lap 203 after contact from the No. 31 Chevrolet of Ryan Newman . Newman and Jeff Gordon were in close quarters to her inside, and their tight battle spilled over into Patrick's racing line. Patrick's car slid down off the Turn 1 retaining wall directly into the path of David Ragan 's No. 55 Toyota, which careened off the rear deck of Patrick's No. 10. "I got really, really hit," Patrick told her crew, who tried to explain to her that Gordon was at fault as much as Newman. "It's such a shame," said Patrick , who finished 40th. "We were having a good race and the car was definitely pretty decent. We took two tires on that last stop and it was definitely a little bit too loose, but I was kind of waiting for it to come to me and Newman has always been super fair and I know that he was working to get by me. But, it sounds like maybe Jeff got into him, or something. It's that time of year. It's the Chase and people are racing hard and they want everything they can get, and maybe Jeff couldn't see exactly where he was in relationship to the No. 31 (Newman) and me. But I did not get the good end of the stick." The contact and extensive spray of debris forced the race under red-flag conditions for 6 minutes and 4 seconds, after 204 of a scheduled 300 laps. The track was littered with impact-absorbing foam after contact pried open the right-side sheet metal on Ragan's car. Ragan, who wound up 41st in the 43-car field, said he had little chance to avoid Patrick's car as it slid down into his path. "I don't know what happened to her, but typically when you hit the wall you hold onto the brakes, you lock it down -- you try not to come back across the track." Ragan said. "I saw her coming back down and I was trying. I didn't want to lock my brakes up because I knew I would hit her, so I was trying to just get it as low as I could and just couldn't get it as low as I needed to. Unfortunate to get involved in a wreck like that. I really hate it from our Michael Waltrip Racing Aaron's Toyota team. We had a rocky start to the race with a loose wheel and unscheduled green flag pit stop, but we had kind of gotten back our mojo that last run and got back on the lead lap. "Just one of those deals. I hate it for everybody that works on these race cars. We needed a good finish today, but I wish that she would have locked her brakes up and would have stayed up on the wall." Patrick was able to drive away from the crash, but reported to the infield care center on her own, primarily to check her carbon monoxide levels. "I feel like for a month now I have been asking about it because sometimes after the race I get a headache," Patrick said. "I just talked to the doctor in there and they said that could happen very easily from dehydration. It seemed like a little bit more than that to me, but it makes sense. We sweat like crazy in these cars. Just got to take my hydration game up a notch, I guess. I feel fine."
Aspen Dental announces that it will be the primary sponsor for Danica Patrick in four races per year starting in the 2016 season.
Standing on stage holding his arms high above his head giving double peace signs, 10-year-old Elijah Aschbrenner looked like a rock star -- bright red hair, high wattage smile and unmistakable attitude. A year after being diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer, Epithelioid Sarcoma, Elijah struck the pose after joining NASCAR stars such as Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Danica Patrick walking the runway as part of the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation's "Catwalk for a Cause" pediatric cancer fundraiser this past May. Predictably, Earnhardt and Patrick got rousing cheers, but Elijah clearly stole the show -- afterwards be-bopping around the Mooresville, North Carolina, venue shaking hands with donors, grabbing snacks with his little brother Sam, 9, and posing for photos with the race car drivers. It was difficult to tell who was the celebrity and who was the cause célèbre. That was only five months ago. Unfortunately, a recent CT-scan revealed that despite the chemotherapy and the radiation and the surgeries -- despite great courage and faith -- Elijah's cancer has spread. And after a brief and hopeful time participating in a clinical trial in Atlanta last month, doctors have decided there is no further treatment to prescribe. A hospice nurse visits Elijah every Tuesday at his home outside Charlotte making sure he is comfortable. A hospice social worker also stops by regularly to counsel Sam and Elijah's friends, whom his mom, Becky Hughes, says "are having a real tough time with this." Though Elijah would much rather be riding a Ripstik outside with his brother and friends, he mostly spends his days in a wheelchair building elaborate Lego creations or watching television -- "Wheel of Fortune" is one of his favorites. "My mom and I are really good at it," he says. He loves the occasional trips to Target or Toys "R" Us, and the steady stream of visitors who bring prayers and love. The cancer has taken a real toll on Elijah's young body. His voice is softer and strained, his stamina greatly diminished, but cancer has not sapped his incredible spirit or lessened his intense resolve. "There are so many days I could just cry and let myself get buried in that, but I can't," his mom explained. "Elijah is strong and Sam is strong, always there to make us laugh and smile. "I have prayed to God to just give me this tumor. I would do that in a heartbeat. The worst pain in the world is seeing your child going through something like this, and you can't fix it, you can't do anything. "I could be an emotional wreck, but Elijah only allows me three minutes of crying a day. Some days I don't need it, but if I start to, he'll say, "Three minutes, Mom." Hughes has worked in the racing industry for years both as a driver public relations representative and now with sponsor Great Clips. She has been buoyed by the outpouring of support from the NASCAR community but not surprised. This weekend Elijah and his family will be guests of Ann and Ken Schrader at the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . After some souvenir shopping -- his favorite part of the day -- Elijah is looking forward to stopping in the garage area and seeing his "friends" from the Catwalk event. So many of them have provided help to Elijah and his family. Drivers have lent their private airplanes to transport Elijah to various doctors around the Southeast. They have donated money to cover the escalating medical bills and sent messages of support using the hashtag #prayersforelijah on social media. More significantly, they have given their time and attention. Truex and his girlfiend, Sherry Pollex, herself undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, are essentially on speed dial with the family and have been constant support for Elijah. Pollex organizes the Catwalk event and had been raising money ($300,000 this year) for childhood cancer long before she was affected personally by the disease. Team Penske put Elijah's name over the door of both of its Sprint Cup Series Chase contending cars last week. And 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski devoted one of the entries on his popular blogs to remind people about "perspective" in life. He used Elijah as a shining example. Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing are among the organizations to publicly offer good wishes -- the entire team from shop foremen to drivers posing with a "Prayers for Elijah" sign. And while it is all a bit overwhelming and "very cool," Elijah joked this week that it does cause a minor problem when it comes to picking a driver to cheer for. "That's the hard part," Elijah said. "They are all so good to me. "The fact they know me is outstanding, I don't know how a kid like me would get that lucky to meet them. Just knowing them means a lot to me." His mother begins to cry when trying to explain the impact of those relationships. "He really looks up to Martin (Truex) and Dale Junior and Kasey (Kahne) and Jeff Gordon and feels like they are all his buddies because they have done events with him," Hughes said. "After the Catwalk, he'll talk about how Dale Junior is his buddy. During a race, he'll ask me to call Dale Jr. and get him to do this or that. I'll laugh. It shows how great these guys have been to Elijah. "Even if they were just with him for half an hour it made such an impact on him and made him feel comfortable and like a friend.That means everything to me. To see how happy he gets thinking he has all these buddies in all these different avenues of sports." Taking the cue from NASCAR's best, other sports have rallied about Elijah, too. WWE wrestling star Titus O'Neil changed a flight to detour to Charlotte and pay a visit to Elijah. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton surprised Elijah at a block party in his honor -- a Halloween theme because that's Elijah's favorite holiday. News outlets from People Magazine to "The Today Show" shared the story. "I'm in disbelief. Every day we'll hear of another athlete doing something for him, last night someone sent us a picture of Kirk Cameron holding up a sign saying 'Prayers for Elijah,' " Hughes said. "It's just amazing to me, the outreach and the people that have been impacted throughout all this, from NASCAR, to WWE to the Panthers. Everyone's just put their arms around us and are supporting us. "He is definitely a loved little boy, and I am so blessed that God chose me to be his mom. He is the bravest little boy I know and I just pray for many, many more years to watch him grow up." It's not just famous people who have recognized and rallied for Elijah. Classmates from school visit him. The community organized a golf tournament fundraiser, and even local restaurants designated certain nights to donate funds. In some ways, "Prayers for Elijah" has grown from a sentimental hashtag or well wish into a movement. It is a plea for more funding and research into childhood cancers, which currently receive a very small portion of the overall funds. It is an inspiration reminding us if a 10-year-old boy can be this strong and positive despite all he's going through, then we should have great courage and a better attitude, too. It is a lesson in living in the present each day. As a breast cancer patient myself, I feel a special connection to Elijah. I was diagnosed a couple months after him and our chemotherapy treatments and surgeries often coincided. In fact, I had radiation treatment the morning I flew from Florida to Charlotte to attend May's Catwalk event. And I had to leave early the next morning to be back in the cancer center for my next round. That evening I asked Elijah what advice he had for other cancer patients. "Keep fighting," he said. "And breathe." His mom considers that evening a gift -- a time of pure happiness and excitement. How proud to know her son was an inspiration to every soul in the room. And still is. "He was amazing, he just shined that night," Hughes recalled. "It was like, 'Here I am and I'm not going to let cancer get the best of me.' And he's had that attitude from Day 1. "There have been many days when my faith is down and I’m scared and worried and he'll look at me and say, 'Mama, we're going to get through this.' So never once has his faith been in question. A few months ago he coined the phrase, 'Faith and believing are your cure.' And he really means it. "He is amazing and he gives me strength every day." He does the same for all of us.
Photo credit: @CLTMotorSpdwy RELATED: Photos of the Better Half Dash participants CONCORD, N.C. -- It was the NASCAR wives' and girlfriends' time to shine on the track in Thursday's fifth annual Better Half Dash, organized by Motor Racing Outreach at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Shannon Koch, the wife of NASCAR XFINITY Series driver, Blake Koch , took the checkered flag. She overcame some early-race trouble when the back body panel of her No. 8 machine was blown off by the wind. "I really didn't know that I lost part of my car until I came back around and they were picking it up off the track," Shannon Koch said after the race. "My husband just said, 'keep going, they didn't black flag you yet.' " Congratulations Shannon Koch! @CLTMotorSpdwy : Shannon Koch wins #BetterHalfDash ! pic.twitter.com/utaZBrZH2u http://t.co/A8pZxzvjsB — NASCAR Off Track (@OffTrackNASCAR) October 8, 2015 When asked whether that gave her an aerodynamic advantage, Shannon Koch said, "I don't know, maybe it did. Did lap times pick up? I have no idea. It didn't feel any different to me." To which second-place finisher Katelyn Sweet, girlfriend of Kyle Larson , quickly said to a loud round of laughter, "Your motor got way more air." No word on whether the car passed post-race inspection. Shannon Koch wins the #BetterHalfDash at @CLTMotorSpdwy pic.twitter.com/dbjY7tmYkm — Pete McCole (@PeteMcCole) October 8, 2015 The race benefits MRO and Speedway Children's Charities as well as each participant's individual charity. Koch's $10,000 winnings went to MRO, which was the charity she was representing. With the win comes a really big trophy for Koch. She described it as "definitely the biggest that we have. It will go right up there with the rest of them." And Koch is also going out on top, saying in the post-race press conference, "I'm retiring." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Larson and Denny Hamlin were among the spotters for their respective significant others, Sweet and Jordan Fish. NASCAR Sprint Cup regulars Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . were among those to check out the action as well. Sweet led several laps in the event and overcame an early spin out to finish second. Tandra Greenfield, the wife of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Clay Greenfield , finished third. Greenfield is eager to come back next year. "It was fun to compete with them because they were so aggressive and competitive," she said. Wendy Venturini, a NASCAR reporter and wife of Jarrad Egert, director of track operations for Joe Gibbs Racing , was not able to pull off the MRO event sweep after taking the High Heel Dash in May. Over the past few weeks, there have been practice sessions leading up to the race, all while the competitors were busy raising money prior to the event. As in years past, the participant to raise the most money earned the opportunity to select their starting spot for the race. Koch earned the pole honor. The results: 1. Shannon Koch (wife of driver Blake Koch ) 2. Katelyn Sweet (girlfriend of driver Kyle Larson ) 3. Tandra Greenfield (wife of driver Clay Greenfield ) 4. Jordan Fish (girlfriend of driver Denny Hamlin ) 5. Kristen Yeley (wife of driver J.J. Yeley) 6. Tatiana Papis (wife of driver Max Papis ) 7. Ashley Deihl Stremme (wife of driver David Stremme ) 8. Melanie Self (Motor Racing Outreach Community Center Coordinator) 9. Jenna Robinson (wife of No. 19 tire changer Clay Robinson) 10. Whitney Kay Scott (wife of driver Brian Scott ) 11. Wendy Venturini (NASCAR reporter, wife of JGR director of track operations Jarrad Egert)
MORE: Learn more about Nature's Bakery Danica Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing welcomed a brand new sponsor to NASCAR Tuesday, announcing that Nature's Bakery will be a multiyear primary sponsor on Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet beginning with a 28-race deal in 2016. Not only is it truly a natural fit between the company and Patrick , the partnership announcement ends a very brief sponsorship search -- by NASCAR standards -- for one of the sport's most famous drivers. Patrick , 33, unveiled the No. 10 Chevy's unique bright blue livery Tuesday at the team's North Carolina headquarters, saying that the car color would stand out on track and joking it "is going to look great against my skin tone." Equally as significant, team co-owner Tony Stewart confirmed a multiyear contract extension for Patrick , who has driven for SHR in all three of her full-time Sprint Cup Series seasons. Sitting alongside Patrick and Nature's Bakery executives, Stewart referred to Tuesday's dual announcements as "a great time in our sport." "I feel like our brands align so perfectly, it's kind of amazing," Patrick said. "I think that journey is going to be really fun. I think there's going to be lots of exciting things that we can do together in the future. "Of course, on top of that, being able to re‑sign with Tony and here at Stewart‑Haas is very important to me. I really, really do feel like family here. I feel like there's nowhere else I want to be. I'm just fortunate enough that I didn't have to look anywhere else, that I get to stay, and that I have a great new sponsor." The Nature's Bakery slogan, "Energy for life's great journeys" couldn't be more apropos with its sponsorship of one of NASCAR's biggest stars. The entrance into NASCAR comes as a great new journey for the family-owned company, which makes a healthy assortment of "on the go snacks" including gluten-free, dairy free and kosher baked goods. RELATED: See Danica's paint scheme for Darlington Patrick said she had already been a fan of the product, which has sales in 22 countries with plans to nearly double that in the next two years. "This is a dream come true,'" said Nature's Bakery founder Dave Marson. "We've been NASCAR fans for 20 years. To be able to take what we do, make better‑for‑you foods, combine that with a love of NASCAR, I mean, this is special. I'm really enjoying this." Marson also acknowledged the company's health-conscious philosophy seems like a genuinely "authentic" partnership with Patrick , who has long been a proponent of a healthy lifestyle from her cooking to her love of yoga, which is well documented through her social media channels. "I've always used that as a way to get to know me off the track," Patrick said. RELATED: GoDaddy to end primary sponsorship after this season "I think all you have to do is look at that and that is what lines up perfectly with Nature's Bakery. It's energy for your journey. It's going out on a hike with (her dog) Dallas, doing Yoga at home, doing CrossFit and needing energy for that. "It's traveling. I mean, I'm always on the road. I always need things that are quick and handy. You guys all know that, too. Spending time on the road, you need snacks. Between that and their open‑mindedness to exploring all different kinds of ways we can work together, they have big dreams and they want to align them with me and make them work with me." It will be the start of a new era for Patrick who has six top-10s and has led 27 laps in 105 Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to a 10-race 2012 season. She most famously won the pole position for the 2013 Daytona 500 , becoming the first woman to do so. Her eighth-place finish in that event is also the best ever for a female competitor in the "Great American Race." This season, Patrick has two top-10s, with a best finish of seventh at Martinsville Speedway in March and is ranked 21st in the standings with three races remaining to set the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff field. Her goals going forward with Nature's Bakery aren't any different than they were with GoDaddy. "It's to continue to improve," Patrick said. "There's not a marker for that necessarily. I mean, the results just have to keep getting better and better. "For instance, there was emphasis after Indianapolis to get better at race starts. That's just what I've done. It's always evolving. You make something else better, something else shows up. But it's a work in progress. I think that for most of your career as a driver, you continue to get better and learn. "But it's always working in that direction. Sometimes it's moving faster than other times, sometimes moving a little bit slow for what I want. But I think that it is going in the right direction, and that's all I can ask for. WATCH: Danica , Nature's Bakery align 'perfectly ' Off the track, Patrick's nine-year relationship with GoDaddy has been mutually beneficial -- helping make the company a household name while helping propel Patrick to crossover fame, thanks to starring roles in the company's national commercials. Patrick has appeared in 13 Super Bowl commercials -- the most of any celebrity. And it's reasonable for Nature's Bakery -- which has 420 employees and manufacturing facilities in two states -- to expect similar big things in its new relationship with one of the most marketable professional athletes in the world in the country's most popular form of motorsport. "You can look at the size of our company and say we're either the up‑and‑coming guy who is going to be the next Fortune 500 company, and that's what we plan on being," Marson said. "We're taking and leveraging this opportunity with NASCAR, the NASCAR fan base, to look at our products and to grow and become one of those Fortune 500 companies. "We thank Stewart‑Haas Racing and Danica for believing us. We came to them with an idea and a dream. We said, 'We are the new up‑and‑coming company. Look at us and we'll show you what we can do.' They believed in us. "We really look forward to the opportunity."
RELATED: Watch the press conference here on Tuesday Stewart-Haas Racing driver Danica Patrick will have a press conference at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the team announced Sunday in a press release. The event will also be live streamed on NASCAR.com. See the link above to bookmark the location. On Monday, Danica offered a sneak peek at a paint scheme on Twitter . Through 23 races this season, Patrick has two top-10s in her No. 10 Chevrolet. Earlier this year, she earned her sixth career top-10 finish, the most by a female driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. RELATED: Learn more about Danica's SHR team
Company still wants NASCAR driver as spokeswoman GoDaddy will not renew its primary sponsorship with the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet driven by Danica Patrick , according to a release on Wednesday. But the company revealed it is negotiating to keep Patrick as a GoDaddy spokeswoman under a personal services agreement. RELATED " Cain: Chance to sponsor Danica is one to line up for "We love Danica and all she does to empower and inspire people, especially women, which is why we are working to keep her in the GoDaddy family," said GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Phil Bienert in the release. "We have the utmost respect for Stewart-Haas Racing , and they've been phenomenal partners. ... The fact Danica is having a record-setting season makes it tough to leave this motorsports sponsorship, without a doubt." In nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season, Patrick has two top-10 finishes, including a seventh-place finish at Martinsville. With her ninth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway , Patrick set a Sprint Cup Series record for top-10 finishes by a woman driver with six for her career. "GoDaddy has been an incredible partner for a very long time, almost nine years, and as I've said before, our brands have really grown up together," Patrick said in the release. "It's pretty cool, from a marketing perspective, that we helped GoDaddy build such strong brand awareness here in the U.S. I'm excited to work with GoDaddy on a personal level moving forward, but will miss having their bright green color on my race car next year." NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France had the following to say when asked on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday about GoDaddy's impending departure: "We're always disappointed when for one reason or another a company changes course. But that happens, and I know recently they just went from being private to a publicly traded company and I'm sure that changes a lot of their budgets and strategy and that's just how that goes. " Danica is very marketable as we all know ... and I've really been watching her and she's competing more and more at a higher level, and she's very competitive. She wants to really make her mark over a period of time, and it's a tough place to do it with the kind of talent and parity that's in NASCAR. But she's showing progress and I think she'll be just fine." Despite GoDaddy's impending departure, one in four FORTUNE 500 companies are now invested in NASCAR, eight percent higher than in 2008. And over the last two years, more than 65 new companies became NASCAR team sponsors. Later Wednesday morning, Patrick tweeted about the news. Heck of a lot of season left to win driving the @godaddy car! Everything evolves and changes in life, I'm excited for what's to come! — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) April 29, 201 FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
SHR driver will be part of field for Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night Danica Patrick was revealed to be the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway following the Sprint Showdown. That put Patrick in the field for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race , where engine trouble sent her to a 20th-place finish. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver became the first person to win the Sprint Fan Vote twice, earning the honor in 2013. Earlier in the week, Miss Sprint Cup revealed that Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Patrick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) and Josh Wise (Phil Parsons Racing) were the top-five vote getters. Since the Sprint Fan Vote was instituted in 2004, only one driver -- Kasey Kahne in 2008 -- has won the vote and gone on to win the race. The 12 fan vote winners have averaged a finish of 14.75 in the Sprint All-Star Race. Previous Sprint Fan Vote winners and their results in the Sprint All-Star Race Year Driver Result 2004 Ken Schrader 13th 2005 Martin Truex Jr . 22nd 2006 Kyle Petty 8th 2007 Kenny Wallace 16th 2008 Kasey Kahne WON 2009 Joey Logano 8th 2010 Carl Edwards 21st 2011 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 14th 2012 Bobby Labonte 19th 2013 Danica Patrick 20th 2014 Josh Wise 15th 2015 Danica Patrick 20th