Danica Patrick didn’t have a great run in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300, but she had a decent one, finishing 12th in her JR Motorsports Chevrolet, her best finish of the still-young NASCAR Nationwide Series season.
Patrick, who came into the race 21st in points, started from the 12th position in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. After the first caution on Lap 12 and the subsequent round of pit stops, she was back to 18th.
During the second caution on Lap 27 for a Kyle Busch spin, Patrick lost more spots, dropping to 23rd. Early on, Patrick was complaining her car was loose, making it extremely difficult to drive.
But at the one-quarter distance of the race, she starting making progress, and was up to 16th by Lap 60.
At halfway, Patrick was up to 10th, her best position of the day, after a series of adjustments by crew chief Tony Eury Jr. to tighten her car up.
And with 60 laps to go, Patrick was eighth, right behind teammate Cole Whitt. Shortly thereafter, T.J. Bell ran out of gas, causing another caution. A great stop by the JR Motorsports crew got Patrick out in sixth position, giving her team optimism of another great Las Vegas finish.
But Patrick slipped back on the restart, falling to 11th by Lap 153. With only 15 cars on the lead lap, Patrick pitted under caution after a caution for Jeremy Clements’ spin on Lap 156, taking fuel and getting a chassis adjustment but no tires.
She re-entered the race 14th and was up to 12th by Lap 178. And that’s where she would end her race, scoring her best finish of 2012.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.