Danica has disappointing day at Las Vegas, Kenseth wins on 41st birthday
By Brandon Reid
After blowing a tire, wrecking and finishing 39th in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 March 3, former Roscoe resident Danica Patrick was hoping for a better result in the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday, March 10. However, halfway through the race March 10, Patrick found herself four laps down. She finished the race 33rd, saying it left her team “somber and disappointed.”
Starting the race 37th, Patrick complained of a poor-handling car much of the race as she struggled to keep up with the field.
“We know we’re going to have tough days, but this is not the kind of tough day we thought about,” Patrick said in a post-race interview. “We’ve just got to work our butts off to where we never have this day again.”
“This day” for Patrick and her team also included a pit crew error that caused her to get a penalty, costing her another lap. She told the crew after the error: “That’s all right, guys. If we’re going to have these days, might as well have them all together.”
Patrick finished the race 33rd, six laps behind race winner and Cambridge, Wis., native Matt Kenseth, who won on his 41st birthday. Only two other drivers in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history have won on their birthdays — Cale Yarborough (who did it twice) and Kyle Busch.
Kenseth, who led 42 laps, was barely able to hold off race runner-up Kasey Kahne, who had led 114 of the 267-lap race. It was Kenseth’s third victory at Las Vegas, after winning in 2003 and 2004, but his first behind the wheel of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Kenseth now has 25 career wins.
Race pole-sitter Brad Keselowski finished third, with Busch in fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fifth. Janesville, Wis., native Travis Kvapil finished 39th after starting 28th.
Top five in series points are as follow: 1. Jimmie Johnson (with Rockford native Chad Knaus as crew chief), 129 points; 2. Keselowski, 124 points; 3. Earnhardt Jr., 119 points; 4. Denny Hamlin, 102 points; and 5. Carl Edwards, 98 points. Patrick is 30th in series points with 53, and Kvapil is 32nd with 40 points.
Next race is the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. Race time is noon (Central), Sunday, March 17.
Posted March 11, 2013
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