Danica Patrick Crashes Into Car Leaving Pit at Bristol Motor Speedway

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 02:45 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Danica Patrick crashed into the back of Clint Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota as she attempted to depart the pit road at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Patrick was said to have completed 500 laps prior to the accident, ESPN reported. The accident was caused by a transmission problem in Patrick's car that left only the fourth gear functioning.

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"I only had fourth gear, so that's why I hit Clint in the pits," Patrick told ESPN. "It wouldn't go. I dipped the clutch and it got sideways, and when it caught it went straight and it wouldn't stop."

No one was injured in the accident.

The crash was an unfortunate ending to an otherwise positive week for Patrick, who finished in 21st place in Las Vegas last week. She began the season in 40th place, ESPN noted.

"We had a really rough Friday and Saturday, going to a backup after like my fourth lap on track, not a very good practice, not a very good qualifying," Patrick told ESPN. "We're kind of shaking our heads going, 'What the hell are we going to do?' And [crew chief Tony Gibson] made good decisions on the car. We stuck with what we had, tried to make improvements on that and got a bunch of cars in the beginning. And then after that it was like a chain of problems."

Saturday's accident at the Bristol Motor Speedway was the second one Patrick experienced last week. The first accident occurred several days earlier at a race when rookie Cole Whitt turned directly into a wall in front of her, ESPN reported.

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Patrick, who is a spokesperson for the web hosting company GoDaddy.com, made news in January when she told reporters that she felt pressure to improve on her NASCAR rookie season of 2013, dispelling the perception of some that she is simply allowed to hang around NASCAR for marketing purposes only.

Aside from her performance on the track, Patrick also made headlines for her personal life in 2013. She divorced her husband Paul Hospenthal to pursue her public affair with fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

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