Following Danica Patrick: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve (Montreal)
By: Farrah Kaye
The last time Danica Patrick was at a road course, she ran one of the best races of the season. A last lap punt into the gravel by Jacques Villeneuve ended her run and caused a stir in the racing world. Villeneuve didn’t take responsibility but his actions resulted in an apology from Penske Racing and many fans and members of the community wondered if he should be allowed to continue to race.
But Patrick tries to put previous races behind her.
“Every weekend is its own weekend. Things can change and you are presented with different obstacles every time you show up at the track,” she said. “We put last week behind us and this is a brand new week for our GoDaddy team.”
When it came time to head to Montreal – and the track named after Villeneuve’s father – many wondered if there would be a round two involving the drivers.
Ron Fellows yet again joined Patrick and teammate Cole Whitt, adding experience to the JR Motorsports team.
“It’s been great working with Ron (Fellows) as a teammate. He has been nice to me from the start,” Patrick said. “I have a lot of respect for him, and I feel like I get the same in return. He is very generous with information when I ask him questions. It’s always nice to have somebody on the team with such a great amount of experience. When I feel something on the track, I’m not always sure of it, especially at this point in time running road courses in these cars. It’s good to be able to have Ron’s terminology and experience to lean on with that.”
Villeneuve led most of the race, with a total of 43 laps. Alex Tagliani, an IndyCar driver making a rare appearance, started on the pole but had a rough day, leading only seven laps and was involved in several incidents before ending the day in 22nd place.
While Patrick was leading the race, a fan threw a shoe on to the track (the quote from the movie Austin Powers comes to mind… “Who throws a shoe? Honestly!”), which many believe ended Patrick’s run. However, it was reported she felt something clanging during qualifying that was never addressed. A part flew out of the car soon after the shoe incident and Patrick never recovered.
She finished 27th and six laps down, saying the team is just unlucky.
“We gotta get some good luck at some point in time. At the end of the day, I just can’t believe how unlucky we’ve been.”
Justin Allgaier took the win, redemption from last year where he ran out of fuel on the way to the checkered flag. The points battle was shaken up a bit, with Sam Hornish Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tying for second. By virtue of more wins, Stenhouse is officially in second. Elliott Sadler remains in first and Austin Dillon remains in fourth.
The circuit heads to Bristol next, where Patrick will begin doing double duty for four of the next six races. She will make her first Cup start at Atlanta Motor Speedway during Labor Day Weekend.
Farrah Kaye is a NASCAR columnist for CBS Local Sports and is a member of the NMPA. Her previous articles have appeared on SPEEDtv.com, newsweek.com and she holds a degree in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Kaye.