Danica’s Day: Run-In with Earnhardt Jr. Leaves Her 34th

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At Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky on July 11, 2015. CIA Stock Photo

At Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky on July 11, 2015. CIA Stock Photo

By Aaron Burns

Danica Patrick’s name was all over social media after Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, but it wasn’t for all the right reasons.

Patrick was enduring a difficult night at Kentucky when someone else’s problem became hers late in the race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had won the previous week’s race at Daytona Int’l Speedway, encountered brake issues early in Saturday’s race. After falling back to 30th, he got a run on Patrick entering turn three just as Patrick’s car got loose and slid in front of Earnhardt’s.

The result: Earnhardt, struggling to slow down in time, bumped Patrick and sent her into the outside wall. Livid by what she perceived as an intentional move, Patrick hit Earnhardt’s car on pit road. Patrick’s crew told her about Earnhardt’s brakes, but it didn’t soothe her frustrations.

Nor did it improve her night. She wound up with a 34th-place finish.

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