Danica Patrick's huge wreck in Sunday's NASCAR race may have been one of the best things to happen to her this year, her first full year in the Sprint Cup Series.
With over 100 laps in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR race in Phoenix, Arizona, Patrick's car got a flat tire and she violently crashed into the wall and then got crushed again by David Ragan after her car ricocheted off the wall. Part of her car flew across the track as her car was squashed.
"I'm okay, but it was a huge hit," Patrick admitted to her crew immediately after the huge wreck.
Patrick escaped serious injury, and the wreck during NASCAR's first non-restrictor plate race with the new Gen 6 cars could ultimately help her this season, especially since she came away without any major injuries.
"Thank God for SAFER barriers," Patrick said. "I'm glad I didn't drive in the days without them, because they're very important."
The crash will make Patrick a better driver, even though her car was not at its best on Sunday. Patrick started the race in 40th place and had steadily moved up to 26th.
First, the crash was not due to driving error but due to a tire that blew, just like what happened to her teammate Ryan Newman, so she will not be dogged by silly questions about whether she can properly handle the new Gen 6 cars.
Second, though she said she has suffered harder hits, Patrick's wreck Sunday was pretty violent. Like an injured quarterback who comes back in football and needs to get hit to get confidence back, the wreck will give Patrick the confidence to drive more aggressively, knowing she has handled a violent wreck in the new Gen 6 cars. Other drivers have driven tentatively in them, as they still are figuring out how the new cars handle on certain tracks.
Carl Edwards won the race. Patrick's teammate Ryan Newman had the same problem with his car, as his tire blew. Tony Stewart, the owner of the team, finished in 8th.