Earnhardt, Danica, Larson in early tangle at Sonoma; Patrick hit later by Stenhouse
Bad luck struck early for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and pole sitter Kyle Larson in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
The trio were entering Turn 11 at the conclusion of Lap 14 when Earnhardt locked his brakes and spun. He slid back into the middle of the lane, clipped the right rear of Larson’s car, while Patrick could not stop and hit Earnhardt in the middle of the right side.
All three cars suffered minor to moderate damage. When the race restarted on Lap 19, Larson had fallen back to 14th, Patrick was 24th and Earnhardt was 25th. Earnhardt also was penalized for speeding while exiting pit road. It was his sixth speeding penalty of the season.
Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski were at the front of the field on the ensuing restart.
Patrick was involved in another wreck not of her own doing on Lap 31. Kyle Larson pinched Dale Earnhardt Jr., who got into the rear of Patrick’s car, spinning her. Patrick’s boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., could not avoid her car and sustained heavy, race-ending damage to his Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
“I tried to get down below it and hit it,” Stenhouse told Fox Sports 1. “It’s just unfortunate. ... All in all, we were trying to bide our time and save our tires. Now we’ve got Goodyears left that aren’t going to be used.”
Patrick, meanwhile, asked over her team radio, “Who is that dumb?” She was later told it was Larson, but she didn’t reply.