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Category: Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick hears boos after a tough day of Indy 500 qualifying

Patrick_400 Danica Patrick, IndyCar's most popular and visible driver, had to fight back tears and was shaking after qualifying 23rd for the Indy 500 with her only run Saturday.

She has been having problems controlling her car at the famed racetrack during practice this week. When the public-address system broadcast her criticism of the car's setup, fans voiced their displeasure.

"I say one confident thing out there, that it's not me, and everybody boos me," she said. "I don't know, maybe they were booing me before, but some of them were probably cheering for me before. I'm not a different driver than I was five years ago."

Patrick covered four laps at an average of 224.217 mph Saturday. She was in line to make another attempt when the session ended.

Reigning champion Helio Castroneves averaged 227.970 during qualifying to win the poll for the May 30 race.  Will Power will start second after averaging 227.578 and Dario Franchitti took third at 226.990.

While fans were upset with Patrick's comments, members of her race team agreed with her assessment, that the car was too loose and she was unable to maximize the car's speed.

"You take one on the chin, but maybe you had it coming this time," said Tom Anderson, Andretti Autosport's senior vice president for racing operations. "All you can do is turn the other cheek and just get back to work.

"I think we underestimated, or I underestimated, what it was going to take to make the top 24 there," Anderson said. "Speeds were up a little bit. Not the starting position we wanted, for sure. Sometimes, you just need a day away from the track to analyze it."

Patrick was a little more blunt in her assessment.

"The car is just totally skating across the track, and there's no grip," she said. "My mechanics took tons of time to make sure it was fast and slick and no drag. It's there, it's just that the setup's not there. I feel bad for them because it's a good car.

"The GoDaddy car deserves to be higher up than this. It's better than this. It's just not set up right."

-- Dan Loumena

Photo: Danica Patrick reacts after seeing her qualifying time Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: John Summers II / Reuters

Michael Andretti discusses Danica Patrick and keeping Ryan Hunter-Reay on track

Michael Andretti had much to celebrate after Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Izod IndyCar Series race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Hunter-Reay ended a 28-race winless streak for Andretti Autosport and gave his owner his first win since 2008.

But Andretti has some dilemmas to resolve as the IndyCar Series moves on.

At the forefront of his problems is finding funding for Hunter-Reay's team. He only has enough to make it through the race at Texas Motor Speedway in June.

Andretti also is concerned about Danica Patrick's performances on the street and road courses to open the IndyCar Series season. Patrick finished 16th at Long Beach, the worst of the four drivers for Andretti Autosport.

Go to Haddock in the Paddock for more on the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

-- Tim Haddock

Andretti's Ryan Hunter-Reay tops second practice for Long Beach Grand Prix


Ryan Hunter-Reay posted the fastest lap in the second practice Friday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, but his IndyCar competition was nipping at his heels.

Hunter-Reay, who drives for the team of Andretti Autosport in the Izod IndyCar Series, ran a lap with an average speed of 100.302 mph on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn course on the city's seaside streets.

But the next three fastest drivers also topped 100 mph and were within one second of Hunter-Reay's time. Ryan Briscoeof Penske Racing was second, Hunter-Reay teammate Tony Kanaan was third and Alex Tagliani was fourth.

Penske's Will Power-- who won two of the first three IndyCar races this year and was the fastest driver in the first practice -- was fifth in the second practice.

Danica Patrick,the sport's most popular driver and another teammate of Hunter-Reay's at Andretti, continued to struggle. She was 23rd fastest in the 25-car field in the second practice after being 21st in the first practice.

Qualifying is Saturday for the grand prix's pole position and to set the rest of the starting grid.

--Jim Peltz

Photo:  IndyCar racer Scott Dixon turns a lap during practice Friday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Credit: Donald Miralle / Getty Images.

IndyCar's Will Power stays hot in Long Beach


Australian Will Power, the red-hot Penske Racing driver who won two of the first three IndyCar races this season, ran the fastest lap in the initial practice Friday for the 36th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Power turned a lap of 99.221 mph on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn circuit on the city's seaside streets. Penske drivers, in fact, took three of the top four spots, with Helio Castroneves second and Ryan Briscoe fourth.

Castroneves won the third race of the season Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., while Power finished fourth.

Two-time champion Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was third in the first practice at Long Beach on Friday, and his teammate Dario Franchitti -- the defending race winner -- was fifth.

Danica Patrick of the Andretti Autosport team had a slow start, running 21st in the 25-car field.

Power, 29, won the Long Beach race in 2008 in the final year of the Champ Car World Series, a formerly separate open-wheel racing series that was absorbed into the IndyCar series the following year.

The drivers were scheduled to have a second practice session Friday afternoon, and qualifying for the race is Saturday.

Photo: IndyCar driver Will Power of Penske Racing during the first practice for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images.

NASCAR's Denny Hamlin, IndyCar's Will Power winners on busy Monday of racing


For motor racing fans lucky enough to be off work, Monday was a day to keep a firm grip on the remote control.

Owing to a wave of bad weather in the South on Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Martinsville, Va., and the Izod IndyCar Series event in St. Petersburg, Fla., were postponed until Monday, when they were broadcast live on television. So were the final rounds of drag racing at the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals near Charlotte, N.C.

Virginian Denny Hamlin won at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in a wild two-lap overtime finish in the NASCAR Cup race. Seven-time Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon had led the field on the final restart but was shuffled out of the lead as Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano all bumped and banged into each other trying for the win.

Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, who won three of the first five Cup races this season, finished ninth.

In Florida, Australia’s Will Power of Team Penske made it two wins in the first two races this season with a victory from the pole position on the streets of St. Petersburg, which followed his win at the season opener in Sao Paulo, Brazil, two weeks ago.

Penkse, in fact, had three of the four top cars, with Ryan Briscoe finishing third and Helio Castroneves fourth. Justin Wilson of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing was second. Danica Patrick of the Andretti Autosport team finished seventh after starting 21st.

The IndyCar series arrives in Southern California on April 18 for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

At the unique four-wide drag races at zMAZ Dragway in Concord, N.C., 14-time champion John Force beat his daughter Ashey Force Hood and two other drivers to win the funny car event. And Cory McClenathan nipped Doug Kalitta by inches to win the top-fuel race.

And for those fans who needed one more fix Monday, Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix won by McLaren’s Jenson Button on Sunday was reaired on Speed TV.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Driver Will Power leads the field on his way to winning the Izod IndyCar Series race in St. Petersburg, Fla. Credit: Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Danica Patrick finishes 31st in NASCAR Nationwide Series race


Danica Patrick fell victim to a late caution and finished 31st in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

She was in 29th place on Lap 130, three laps behind the race leaders.

Brendan Gaughan spun out on Lap 144 to bring out a caution period. Patrick dropped to 30th place before Gaughan spun out.

Patrick came into the pits and when the race restarted on Lap 149, Patrick was in 31st. She stayed there after a green-white-checker flag finish that saw Joey Logano spinning across the finish line.

Kyle Busch won the race, passing Greg Biffle on the final turn. Busch led four laps of the race.

Logano, who led a race-high 130 laps, got bumped by Biffle on the green-white-checker finish and spun out on the infield grass.

-- Tim Haddock

Photo: Danica Patrick in the No. 7 Chevrolet races ahead of James Buescher  in the No. 1 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet and Carl Edwards in the No. 60 Copart Ford during the Nationwide Series Stater Bros. 300 on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Danica Patrick in 33rd on Lap 115

Danica Patrick was in 33rd place after 115 laps of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. She was three laps behind the race leaders.

Joey Logano was the leader after 115 laps. He was followed by Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick, who later dropped out.

The race was yellow-flagged because of a crash on lap 119. Oil on the track in Laps 1 and 2 caused two cars to collide. The cars driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and John Wes Townley crashed, bringing out the third caution period of the race.

Harvick dropped out of the race with a blown engine just before the crash between Stenhouse and Townley.

-- Tim Haddock

Danica Patrick makes a pass in NASCAR Nationwide race

Danica Patrick is moving up. She passed Brian Keselowski, Eric McClure and Derrike Cope to move into 35th place on Lap 50.

Joey Logano leads the race after 50 laps. Rookie Brian Scott is in second, followed by Kyle Busch.

Patrick is part of a nine-car contingent that is two laps behind the leaders.

The race had its first caution on Lap 31 for debris.

The race restarted on Lap 36 with Logano in the lead. Patrick came out of the pits in 38th place, moving up two spots. But she quickly dropped to 40th place by Lap 38 before she began to make her move up to 35th.

-- Tim Haddock

Good news, bad news for Danica Patrick

The good news is Danica Patrick will finish ahead of three drivers in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. John Borneman III, Dennis Setzer and Danny Afland have pulled off the race track, leaving Patrick in 40th place after 20 laps.

The bad news is that six cars have lapped Patrick.

Joey Logano, the race leader, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, rookie Brian Scott, Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers are a lap ahead of Patrick and there's still 130 laps to go.

-- Tim Haddock

Danica Patrick in last place in NASCAR Nationwide race

Danica Patrick started 36th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. By Lap 5, she was in 41st place. There were 43 cars that started the race, but John Borneman III and Dennis Setzer dropped out, leaving Patrick in last place on the track.

She is nearly two seconds behind Brian Keselowski, the 40th-place driver, and falling farther back every lap.

Kelly Bires, who drives for the same JR Motorsports team as Patrick, is in 21st place after five laps.

-- Tim Haddock

Danica Patrick down, Earnhardt Ganassi up in NASCAR in Fontana

Danica-daytona Danica Patrick luckily got into the NASCAR Nationwide Series starting lineup for today's race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya put Earnhardt Ganassi Racing on the front row for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

The two teams are headed in opposite directions. Yet Patrick is the center of attention in the NASCAR world. McMurray and Montoya are quietly speeding under the radar.

Go to Haddock in the Paddock for more on the rise of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and the struggles of Patrick.

-- Tim Haddock

Photo: NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Danica Patrick made her NASCAR debut at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., last week. She qualified 36th for today's Nationwide race at Auto Club Speedway. Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images


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