Danica Patrick took 6th place in her first ever stock car race, the ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.
The 80-lap race was held at Daytona International Speedway. Patrick finished 6th despite making contact with another car and spinning out into the grass.
Of that incident, she told NASCAR.com “What happened was we came out of Turn 4 and people were kind of checking-up, slowing down. I went to the inside and he was kind of dropping back, he tried to cut back over to get in line and I was down there. I couldn’t go below the yellow line to pass so I just held my line, and it collected us. I could’ve either backed off and give it up or keep my foot in it and make him react to me.” Luckily, she regained control of her car and was able to join the race again – avoiding a very inauspicious start to her stock-car career.
As of her NASCAR Nationwide Series debut, she said in a press conference that she expects to make that decision Monday. According to Dave Rodman of NASCAR.com, Patrick “experienced just about everything she’d ever witness in any stock car series in the world,” and in his opinion she should be all set to debut at the February 13 race at Daytona.
However, according to Kelley Earnhardt, JR Motorsports’ general manager, “There’s a lot of experience out there [in NASCAR]; I don’t know that she’s ready for it. It’s just going to have to be something that we all discuss.”
Patrick will be racing for JR Motorsports, a team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Patrick doesn’t really need any help establishing recognition in NASCAR, but she can only have an easier way of doing so under the wing of NASCAR’s most popular driver.
Six women in total were involved in the ARCA race, so it’s not exactly a shock to see Danica racing for them. Personally, I think more attention should be focused on the fact that she has more experience racing Indy cars – not that she’s a woman. It’s a whole different ballgame in NASCAR, though. It should be very interesting to see how she fits in to NASCAR, especially with the new relaxed rules.