DOVER, Del. — In the first half of Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway, Danica Patrick bounced off the wall, lost a lap and was hanging out near 25th place in the running order.
Then her day got a lot better.
With her car not severely damaged by contact with the outside wall on Lap 146, Patrick got her lap back as the “lucky dog” under caution for Landon Cassill’s accident on Lap 218. And Patrick was one of a handful of drivers still on the track when a Lap 330 caution trapped most of the front-runners a lap down.
Patrick avoided the overtime wreck that ended the race and finished 10th, her first top 10 of the season.
“A good day for us,” Patrick said. “We got a bit lucky with staying out at the right time and catching the yellow flags. It’s the stuff that hasn’t been happening for us all year, and it’s just nice to catch some breaks today.
“We weren’t the fastest car today, not sure we were a top 10 car. A lot of times we have been a 10th-place car and weren’t able to get the finish we needed. I'll take the lucky days anytime, I can because there have been plenty of times where it went the other way.”
Tire management was an issue for Patrick, as it was for all teams, with the allotment down one set from last year.
“We put scuffs on two or three times on pit stops,” Patrick said. “It was an issue, but we saw that all weekend, a lot of yellows. We survived and caught the right breaks when we did. I’ll take it.”