By Aaron Burns
After having not finished better than 17th since Pocono in August, Danica Patrick is becoming acquainted with 16th place.
Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 saw Patrick make up considerable ground when a well-timed caution moved her from outside the top 20 to 16th, and when rain shortened the race, Patrick had her second consecutive 16th-place result.
It was one of those nights where 16th was better than Patrick could’ve hoped. She moved into the top 20 early on after qualifying 21st, but a penalty for crewmen going over the wall too soon knocked her outside the top 25.
When an accident involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Patrick’s boyfriend – and Joey Gase brought out a caution on lap 197, Patrick was able to take the wave-around and gain track position. The green flag never flew again under a 22-lap caution period.
As top-20s go, it was fortuitous – but well earned.