Patrick's first NASCAR race in four months- as ugly as it gets
A wreck on Lap 7 and a few angry accusations from the celebrity of the day. That was it. The rest of the race was just a long practice session for Danica Patrick. Welcome back to NASCAR, Danica. This is no easy task.
"It was a long day," she said after the race. "It's unfortunate, but I'm learning, and that's the way it's going to be."
Exciting it isn't. Nothing to see here, folks. For fans who came to see what Patrick could do, it was a boring afternoon.
Patrick finished 30th on Saturday in the New England 200, five laps down to winner Kyle Busch.
"I feel bad for the people who came out to watch me," Patrick said. "It can't be fun to watch the person you're cheering for go laps down early."
|Danica Patrick brought out the first caution flag at lap 8 after making contact with the No. 89 Morgan Shepherd|
|Jim McIsaac/Getty Images|
She started 25th in the No. 7 Chevy after a decent qualifying effort, but not that it mattered. The best-known driver in the field tangled with the oldest driver in the race moments after it began.
Morgan Shepherd, racing in the inside line on Lap 7, made contact with Patrick on the outside entering the turn. Patrick's car slid up to the wall as the yellow flag flew.
"He totally took me out," Patrick said on the radio.
Did he? It's up for debate. Shepherd might have drifted up the track a little. Patrick might have turned down too quickly.
"I got dumped in the corner and it's hard to recover from that," Patrick said. "I didn't see it; I just felt it. You guys probably know better what happened than I do.
"At least we were able to keep racing. But I think it may have changed the car. I didn't have any bite in the corners after that."
Shepherd took the high road after the race.
"I hate that I got into her," Shepherd said. "I've been doing this a long time and don't like to get into nobody. I always try to race everyone clean and not damage equipment.
"This is all new to her and she probably didn't know I was down low beside her. She didn't give me much room. When I hit the brakes, I slipped a little and got into her. I went over to apologize to her [after the race], but she was done gone." ESPN.com