LAS VEGAS, Nev.—There’s no way around it—it’s been a rough week for Danica Patrick.
On Sunday at Phoenix, a blown right front tire sent her Chevrolet SS into the outside wall and then into the path of David Ragan’s Ford Fusion. The impact from Ragan’s car literally blew the driver’s-side door off Patrick’s No. 10.
Patrick took a bone-jarring hit but was unhurt, aside from some expected soreness.
On Thursday night at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, she was watching a race, not competing in it, but that didn’t keep Patrick out of harm’s way.
“I feel like I have a concussion from last night,” Patrick said Friday during a visit to the LVMS media center. “I got hit by a rock at The Dirt Track and I took it to the ground. So I feel like it’s really sore… It hit me straight in the head. Good thing I had a hat on, or there would have been blood.”
Though she was 19th fastest in Thursday’s afternoon practice session, Patrick is getting little respect from Las Vegas bookmakers, who have her at roughly even odds to finish in the top 25 on Sunday. Patrick said she would take that bet.
“Yeah, I would bet on myself—yeah,” Patrick said. “I was running there last year when I had even less of an idea what was going on and didn’t have a full-time effort. It was only a partial schedule, obviously. So I would, but I think that even the best of us can have bad weekends and that they happen.”
Perhaps the flying rock had more of an effect than Patrick realized—she has never run a Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas, though she finished fourth at the 1.5-mile track in the 2011 Nationwide Series event, the best-ever result for a woman in any of NASCAR’s top three series.