For the second time this week, Danica Patrick, driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet, had a wrecked race car and on both occasions she blamed fellow driver Denny Hamlin.
One day after an incident with Hamlin during practice had sent her bouncing off the wall, Patrick was spun at Daytona International Speedway during the second of two Budweiser Duel qualifying races.
A bad finish could have sent her packing from Daytona, but she rallied to finish 10th after the scheduled 60-lap distance was extended four laps because of a green-white-checkered finish.
After the race she confronted Hamlin.
“You did the same thing,” Patrick said, referring to the Wednesday incident. “Tighten what up? Nobody else left me with a problem out there.”
“Nobody has your back like I have it,” Hamlin said. “Stop. Listen to me. But I can’t give you an extra two feet because it’s you.”
“You give me nothing. You give me nothing. It spun my back end around!” countered Patrick.
Hamlin: “I understand. It’s because you’re loose. It’s not my problem if you’re loose.”
Patrick: “Nobody else did it to me.”
Hamlin: “Then nobody else is getting close to you. We have to get close to you. To get you going forward, we have to get close to you. I know it got you loose.”
Patrick: “You spun me out. Just like in practice. When I looked in my rearview mirror and you were right here. You weren’t here; you were here.”
Hamlin: “Absolutely. You were loose entering the corners …”
Patrick: “Because you … Denny. It happened twice. The same person, the same way.”
Hamlin: “But guess what. I didn’t hit you either time.”
Patrick: “Well then apparently you don’t have to actually hit me. I like you Denny, you’re my friend.”
Hamlin: “Does it mean like, ‘oh my god, she’s loose. I can’t run next to her?’ What should I do?”
Patrick: “It just means don’t be up my ass on my left corner … you did it on the straightaway and then you did it in the corner that time. Both times exact same results.”
Hamlin: “I won’t get close to you. I understand now.”
Patrick: “You can get close; I’m sure everybody gets close. But you don’t need to turn me. That’s what it did.”
Denny: “I know it did. I totally get it, but it’s something they have to work on.”
At that point, Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR, arrives and chides Hamlin.
“Tony, I never touched her,” Hamlin said. “I never touched her. What do you want me to do? Not run close?”
“You watch the video,” Stewart said.
In Sunday’s Daytona 500, Patrick will line up 20th for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Hamlin will start 42nd.