DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- By most standards, Thursday's Gatorade Duel at Daytona qualifying races were mundane considering the first 60-lap contest had just two cautions and the second race was flag-to-flag without interruption. But considering it was NASCAR rookie Danica Patrick that drove her Chevrolet into the wall on the final lap of the first qualifying race, she once again dominated the attention at Daytona.
There were plenty of winners and a few losers that came out of Thursday's action at Daytona International Speedway. And while Thursday's contests were simply qualifying races leading into Sunday's Daytona 500, there are some interesting story lines to analyze.
"It happened really quick," Patrick said. "When it gets down to the end of the race everyone is on each other's doors. Unfortunately, I was part of it. I was having a solid race and worked my way in there for a little bit. I felt like I was slowing down trying to keep up with the pack. We were looking for a finish. It felt pretty big; I don't know what it looked like. I felt comfortable -- it was a matter of working with the right people. If I could have gotten up there it would have been a lot better. I'm just bummed out -- two corners to go and the GoDaddy car is in a ball. Maybe the backup car will be faster."
By switching to a backup car, Patrick will line up 29th on the grid but drop to the back of the pack before the start of the Daytona 500.