Each of Friday's two practice sessions at Watkins Glen presented problems for Danica Patrick.
In the first practice, Patrick missed a shift on the road course and sensed a vibration in the engine. After practice the team decided to replace the engine and put in a backup engine, meaning that no matter where she qualified on Saturday, Patrick would start at the rear of the field.
Patrick was on track in the second practice with her fresh engine when she had a parts failure of some sort and crashed in turn five near the end of the session.
Patrick thought she had a tire issue.
“I blew a tire," she said. "I have no idea. I think it was only two laps, the second lap on tires. So apparently (Matt Kenseth) was radioing in saying there was some smoke. I never saw any, but he said he saw it and said ‘you guys should pit.’ Just in the carousel there is so much load on the left-front there that I guess that was the go spot for it. It has been a record horrible day I’m pretty sure.”
Crew chief Tony Gibson said he thought the shock might have broken.
“To me it almost looks like the shock broke," Gibson said. "She went into (Turn) one and she said it moved more than it normally did and then Kenseth said it started tire smoking and as soon as he said that she hit. It looks to me like a shock broke. It looks like it just compressed all down and done.”
The penalty for going to a backup car is, you guessed it, going to the back of the field, but since Patrick was already there from the first practice, she can't go any further.
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