CUP: Patrick OK After Vicious Crash

Danica Patrick walked away from a brutal crash at the end of Thursday’s first Daytona 500 qualifying race and seemed no worse for the experience Friday morning.

“I feel fine,” she said. “It’s part of racing for a living. I’m ready to go. We’re not going to practice in the first practice today (11 a.m.) to give the guys a chance to make sure everything on the backup car is perfect.

“It’s part of the business and also part of big-pack racing like this – so many cars in close quarters. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do.”

Patrick’s Chevrolet went into a slide after Jamie McMurray hit Aric Almirola, pushing Almirola into Patrick. The car barely slowed before she hit the inside SAFER barrier, mangling the car.

Patrick’s in-car camera showed her taking her hands off the steering wheel, a response she said she learned in IndyCar as a tactic to avoid injuring the hands or arms.

Patrick also had hard hits in IndyCar racing.

“As far as impacts go in IndyCar, I feel like your belts are tighter,” she said. “You are really, really tight in an IndyCar seat. Even with lateral load, you get in the corner and you can’t be moving around [inside the car]. In these cars, there is not as much lateral load.

“There’s a lot less room to fly around in Indy cars, and the hit is really quick. In stock cars, oddly enough, you kind of feel the impacts bigger, I think, because of the room you have to move, and the cars bounce a little more when they hit. They don’t just crush and slow down.”

Keselowski Uses Duel For ‘Shakedown’ – Brad Keselowski figures to be on what might be a long favorites list for the Daytona 500, but he didn’t exactly light up the big numbers in his Duel race Thursday.

Keselowski finished 13th in the first Gatorade Duel after starting 11th.

“We didn’t have the best strategy for the Duel because we had a bit of a different strategy,” Keselowski said. “We’re locked into the 500, and it was important for us to shake down our car and work on some things.

“We’re still working on the overall balance of the Miller Lite Dodge. It’s changing. We’re learning about it, especially with this new spoiler. It helped to get out there and race in a pack. I think we have a better idea of where our

car is at today than before the Duel.”

Pastrana Plans Seven Nationwide Races, And Maybe More – Action sports star Travis Pastrana has set a schedule of seven Nationwide Series races this year and hopes to run more.

He also plans to race in 11 K&N Pro Series events – most in the Eastern part of the country – as he tries to get a foothold in NASCAR.

Pastrana’s NASCAR plans were delayed last year when, two days before his scheduled debut in Indianapolis, he broke his right ankle and foot in a motorcycle competition crash.

“I shot myself in the foot and had a lot of sponsors and people relying on me to show up,” Pastrana said Friday. “I shattered my ankle and foot at the X Games. But NASCAR is definitely my future. It’s definitely where I want to go.”

His April-to-September Nationwide schedule has races at Richmond, Darlington, Charlotte, New Hampshire, Chicagoland, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

“For me, I need to get in a car more and understand how far you can push it,” he said.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.