One day later, Danica Patrick still frustrated over Denny Hamlin, nearly missing Daytona 500
A second wreck in as many days with Denny Hamlin nearly cost Danica Patrick a spot in the Daytona 500. But with some help from teammate Kurt Busch, Patrick managed to still race her way into Sunday’s event.
However, after almost missing the biggest show of the season, having to rally to make it in, and then confronting Hamlin in the pits, Patrick is far from relieved.
“I’m more mad that I was so close to not making it in than I am happy that I made it in,” Patrick said to Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel. “I mean, to think I wouldn’t have made it in if the car was too damaged or if I wouldn’t have gotten by a few of those cars? I think it’s crazy. I think that’s [an] unfair [way] to qualify for the biggest race of the year.”
Patrick also fretted over what might have occurred if she hadn’t charged back late in her Budweiser Duel.
“My reality is, if I don’t make that race, what does that mean for perception, what does that mean for [her sponsor] Go Daddy, what does that mean for my team?” Patrick said.
She also added that while she wants to see Thursday more as a positive for making the 500, there was “too much [expletive] on the line last night.”
As for Hamlin, Wetzel writes that he had not yet reached out to Patrick following their latest incident. Hamlin has tweeted that he did not bump Patrick’s car to send her into a spin, but was “too close obviously.”
But Wetzel notes that the lack of a face-to-face conversation following the Duels seems to bother Patrick, considering that the two are good friends and even neighbors in the motor home lot.
Patrick will start 20th on Sunday, while Hamlin starts 42nd.