Danica Patrick's #10 GoDaddy Impala

Danica's first Sprint Cup race ends in a violent crash

Danica Patrick announced late last year that in addition to running the full NASCAR Nationwide Series, she would also compete in a selection of NASCAR Sprint Cup races and her first attempt at the NASCAR ‘bigs’ was today with the Gatorade Duel – ending in a violent crash on the last lap of the first Daytona 500 qualifying race.

Danica Patrick made a name for herself through her successful 7 years with the IZOD IndyCar series but for the 2012 season, Danica will shift all of her attention to the stock car world behind the wheel of a JR Motorsports Chevy Impala. Also, in November team owner Tony Stewart announced that Danica would be running around 10 races in his GoDaddy sponsored #10 Chevy Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup with the first stop being the Daytona 500.

The Daytona 500 racing experience begins with the Gatorade Duels – two short races that establish the starting order for the Great American Race. During a last lap shootout during the first of those races, Danica Patrick was riding in a thick pack of cars when the #43 of Aric Almirola suddenly slowed and kicked out of the pack, slamming into the right side of Patrick’s car and sending her on a high speed ride directly into the inside retaining wall of Daytona Motor Speedway. Patrick’s #10 GoDaddy Chevy Impala stock car sped across the paved inner portion of the track, rotating only slightly before slamming into the wall so hard that the car left the ground on the bounce after hitting the reinforced wall.

The #10 GoDaddy Impala driven by Danica Patrick had an in-car camera on board so we were able to see that Danica was moving around quickly after the violent impact, quickly removing her window net, steering wheel and harness before climbing out with the help of the quick acting track safety crew. Patrick seemed to have no issue climbing out of the car or walking to the ambulance, with later confirmation that the only female competitor to run the Daytona 500 this year is unharmed after the crash. The video below courtesy of YouTube user MT89MotorsportMedia offers a look at Danica’s crash, including a variety of slow motion shots from a variety of angles.

The race in which Danica Patrick wrecked so violently was won by her team owner Tony Stewart, who will start third in the Daytona 500 that begins this Sunday at 1pm. Even though Danica wrecked on the last lap of her Gatorade Duel, she finished well enough to qualify 29th in the 500. Unfortunately, under the rules of the NASCAR Sprint Cup, since Danica will have to go to a backup car for the big race she will have to drop to the back of the field for the start of the race. This isn’t the start that the lovely Miss Patrick needs in her first Daytona 500 but the important part is that she is in the 43 car field for the 54th annual running of the Great American Race.

Image courtesy of DanicaRacing.com

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