NASCAR Auto Club Notebook: Contact From Kasey Kahne Puts Danica Patrick In Wall

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Danica Patrick (Photo: Bob Leverone/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Danica Patrick (Photo: Bob Leverone/Getty Images for NASCAR)

FONTANA, Calif. – A collision with Kasey Kahne’s Chevrolet ruined a promising afternoon for Danica Patrick in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

Patrick started 31st and had worked her way up to 19th before wrecking hard into the Turn 1 wall on Lap 121 after contact from Kahne’s Chevy. Kahne was a lap down at the time, thanks to an earlier unscheduled pit stop.

“We were on a restart, and I had a run on him so I went down low,” said Patrick, who finished 38th. “If you get too close to them (a car you’re trying to clear) then it will drag you both back. I was going low. I saw him chase me down the track, and then the next thing I know I was getting spun up the track. I was passing him. He was behind me in the right rear.

“I don’t know what kind of day he was having. I just heard he was a lap down, actually. I feel bad if he felt like he was put in a position to have to be that desperate a lap down. … I was having a pretty good recovery day, kind of like last weekend. I was just running good race laps and on the lead lap at the end of the race back up into the top 20 from a bad starting position.”

Kahne said the accident was unintentional but avoidable.

“I passed her in (Turns) 3 and 4, and then she had the momentum off the top and went back under me going down the front stretch,” he explained. “So I went just to kind of catch a side draft to make sure I was in position getting into Turn 1, and it didn’t hold me up when I got there because I was the one coming, and I just got too close and the car was moving around and we hit and she had a bad wreck.

“I felt really bad because it was far from anything than just trying to hold my position. I’ve never had an issue with Danica at all. It was an avoidable accident in the middle of the straightaway that was far from anything but just trying to hold my position that I had just gained.”

Kahne and crew chief Keith Rodden were summoned to the NASCAR hauler after the race.

“I don’t see the NASCAR hauler very often, other than signing in on Friday mornings,” Kahne said. “They just wanted to make sure that everything was OK from my perspective and there were no hard feelings prior to the wreck or anything like that. Not at all.”


Martin Truex Jr. had one of the strongest cars in Sunday’s Auto Club Speedway before close-quarters racing from Joey Logano’s Ford sent him into the outside wall on Lap 152.

Truex insisted Logano hit him.

Though Truex was able to continue, things went from bad to worse for the driver of the No. 78 Toyota, who was flagged for speeding when he brought his car onto pit road two laps later to deal with the damage.

“We had a good run going until the No. 22 put our car into the fence,” said Truex, who finished 32nd. “There was a lot of right-side damage to the car, and we were pretty much toast after that incident. Not sure what he (Logano) was thinking about at the time, but that hit spoiled our day.

“We went from being a contender to the back of the field. Really frustrating to have a good car and not have anything to show for it. I think we were running in or close to the top five when the 22 rammed our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota.”

Logano took responsibility for the incident, though he disagreed there was contact between the cars.

“It was completely my fault,” he said. “I was going to go in on the outside of him, and he was going to go in on the top as well, and I just ended up being right on him. We never touched each other, but just taking the air off these cars makes them uncontrollable. I didn’t mean to do that.

“I was going to try to go to the top, and I just got a little bit close to him and got him free, so I’m taking the hit on that one.”


Jimmie Johnson hasn’t finished writing his legacy—by any stretch of the imagination. And Sunday’s victory at Auto Club Speedway only has the six-time champion hungry for more.

Johnson won his 77th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, breaking a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt for seventh on the all-time list. Next in his sights is Cale Yarborough, who won 83 times at NASCAR’s top level.

And it’s certainly conceivable Johnson could catch former teammate and current car owner Jeff Gordon, who retired last year with 93 victories, third all-time.

“There are a couple ‘ifs’ in there that are pretty big,” Johnson said. “If I can keep winning like this, how long I can do it?

“I feel like physically and mentally I’m the best that I’ve ever been in my career. I’m in a great space and really enjoying going to the race shop, going to the race track, working with my team.

“So I’m in the space I want to be in, which tells me it makes me want to stick around and do this for a lot of years.”

If he does so successfully, Johnson might even approach the 105 victories recorded by second-place David Pearson.

“There’s no guarantees about when you’re going to win and have success,” he cautioned. “I’ve been very, very fortunate to win 77 of these things, which blows my mind on its own. It’s easy to look at trends and say we win X a year, but at some point that stops, that stops for everybody. I don’t know when that point is for me. I certainly hope it’s not soon. I would love to get to Jeff. But you never know.

“I know it’s important for me to handle this with class, with respect, with honor for what I’ve done. The fact that I tied Dale with the win in Atlanta, where we are now, I know there’s some more legends just ahead of me in the sport. I look forward to getting a chance to get up there and honor them as well and join them with the amount of wins.”


  1. Dianca can do no wrong (just ask her), she can put her hands on other drivers and climb on the track and give hand gestures and NASCAR doesn’t say any about that! How much longer do we have to deal with her? NASCAR changed the rules for the “shootout” at Daytona for her in my opinion. She hasn’t proven herself in 4-5 seasons. Kasey is not a dirty driver and everybody knows that. I thought that was a racing deal. I saw her car drift up off the white line.

  2. Personally I don’t think she has the talent to drive a truck, much less a cup car.. it’s all politics when it comes to her.. good p.r. for nascar, team owners, sponsors, etc..

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing