Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin have had some unkind meetings this week. The two drivers who by all accounts are friends off the track have tangled on the track in the days leading up to Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup season opening Daytona 500. The latest encounter occurred Thursday night during the second of two qualifying races for the Great American Race. Both drivers had a very public confrontation after it was over.
The first incident occurred the day prior during the first practice session at the 2.5-mile speedway. Patrick , who won the pole here in 2013 had just started practice when her Chevy and Hamlin’s Toyota made contact at speed just before the entrance to turn 3. Patrick was sent up into the wall across the track and came to rest in the grass. Hamlin was able to continue while Patrick’s crew was forced to prepare a backup car. The crash put Patrick’s hopes for making the field for the 500 in jeopardy.
Patrick started at the rear of the 24 car field. She quickly raced her way forward getting as high as sixth at one point. However with only four laps to go, Patrick was ahead of Hamlin at nearly the same point on the track where the two got together Wednesday. The result was the same as Hamlin appeared to bump Patrick and send her spinning. She again came to rest in the grass but was able to continue. Under the ensuing caution Patrick’s crew were able to make repairs and she stayed on the same lap as the leaders. MORE>>>