It wasn't spectacular, but Danica Patrick recorded her best finish in the Nationwide Series on Saturday, winding up 19th in the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Patrick started fifth and quickly slid back after the first few laps. After pitting off-sequence from the leaders thanks to a caution-marred start to the race, Patrick inherited the lead for a brief moment under caution. Yep, she actually led four laps.
As soon as the green flag waved, however, Patrick was swallowed up by eventual race winner Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and others, and was in the middle of the pack before that first lap was completed. She ended up losing 16 spots that lap.
She stayed in the top 25 for most of the race, and thanks to a cluster of late cautions that shuffled pit strategy, Patrick was able to grab a top-20.
But as she said in her post-race interview on ESPN, her transition has been about small victories, and Saturday was one of them given her struggles in her previous 12 Nationwide starts. And while she didn't get around Brian Scott for 18th — that's one of the small victories she said she lost on Saturday — she did manage to finish on the lead lap for the first time.