Danica Patrick had a strong showing at the 5-Hour Energy 400 on Saturday, finishing seventh and posting the best Sprint Cup finish of her NASCAR career.
Patrick’s finish was the third best ever by a woman in a NASCAR race, trailing Sarah Christian’s fifth in 1949 at Heidelberg Raceway and Janet Guthrie’s sixth at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1977.
Car owner and teammate Tony Stewart embraced Patrick, while crew chief Tony Gibson gave her a playful “Chicks rule, huh?” while she was being interviewed following the race. It was a banner day for the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.
“I’ve always believed in myself and with the right situation, a good car, that I can do it,” Patrick said in an AP interview. “It’s little moments when you drive by Jimmie Johnson on the outside, stuff like that makes me really proud of myself and little moments like that give me more confidence.”
Danica started ninth and stayed in a top 10 position for a good portion of the race. At one point she moved into the third position, passing Denny Hamlin, Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Patrick now sits 27th in the Sprint Cup standings, moving up two spots, and now 181 points behind leader Jeff Gordon.