By: Farrah Kaye
Danica Patrick came to New Hampshire bruised – literally and figuratively – after a bad weekend at Daytona.
En route to the short track in Loudon, Patrick made a stop at her favorite track, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to do an interview with Katie Couric for her new show, “Katie.” The two drove around the famous track for Couric’s show, which premieres this fall.
“I’ve met her a couple of times but it was when she was on the Today Show and it was for about six minutes at a time and this was for six hours,” Patrick said of her visit with Couric.” She’s really great. She had a lot of fun.”
Indianapolis has been a much-discussed topic when it comes to Patrick. It was once rumored she wouldn’t run in NASCAR unless she was allowed to take time off to run the Indianapolis 500. During the Coca-Cola 600, stories came out suggesting a plan was being put together for Patrick to return to her favorite race in 2013.
“It was good to be back there. I love that place. I love being there. I love the track, driving around the track,” Patrick said. “One thing is always the same, especially when I’m driving around the track, is you always take it seriously, no matter what kind of car you’re in. You always have respect for it.”
After a quick stop to present an award at the ESPYS, Patrick finally got to New Hampshire, where she finished seventh and 18th in practices and qualified 18th. Almost halfway through the season, Patrick needed a good finish, as she only has one top-10 finish and has recorded four DNFs.
The race was uneventful until lap 150, when Patrick made contact with Jason Bowles and both spun. There was no damage to the car and Patrick was able to finish the race on the lead lap in 14th place.
Patrick leaves Loudon ninth in points, the same position she’s been in for two weeks.
But Patrick wasn’t the female making headlines this weekend. Amber Cope, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet, was 33 laps down when she got in the way of Kevin Harvick while he was battling for the lead with Brad Keselowski. Cope ultimately cost Harvick the win and he was not happy with her.
After the race was over, Harvick voiced his displeasure with Cope in his post-race television interview, media availability and on Twitter. What resulted was a Twitter war with the shared Twitter account of Angela and Amber Cope, who share seat time in their car.
In more dramatic news, after getting out of his car, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. passed out and was taken to the infield care center.
Crew chief Mike Kelley said Stenhouse had been sick all week before getting in the car.
“I think the heat and the exhaustion caught up with him,” Kelley said. “He needed to sit himself down and get cooled off. They’ve got him in the infield care center now getting some fluids in him. He’s fine. He’s awake and alert and I think he’s just getting himself cooled off and getting some fluids in him. He’ll be fine.”
Stenhouse later said he was “embarrassed” but felt good after leaving the infield care center.
After two penalties and loss of his crew chief due to suspension, Austin Dillon lost his lead in the points to Elliott Sadler, who now leads by three points as the series heads to Chicago – Patrick’s hometown – for a rare standalone race as the Cup series has a weekend off.
“I think our season is coming along as far as getting faster and working on qualifying and restarts. I’m finding improvement in everything,” Patrick said of her season.
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.