Danica Patrick revealed she confronted the president of NASCAR after her boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., failed to qualifying for last week’s Talladega race.
NASCAR implemented group qualifying prior to the season, but it has not gone over well at the restrictor -plate tracks like Dayton and Talladega. Last week, the rules led to two full-time drivers failing to qualify and that left Danica Patrick very unhappy.
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Patrick’s boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., was one of the full-time drivers who failed to qualify, along with Justin Allgaier.
With a week to digest what happened at Talladega, Danica Patrick revealed that she went to the trailer of NASCAR president Mike Helton to express her displeasure with the rules and results of qualifying.
“I was really pissed off,” Patrick said, via USA Today. “I said, ‘What the … is this? Is that what we were trying to accomplish?’ Part of it was because it was Ricky. Part of it was because that could have just as easily been me. I know how important those races are to me and my team. But then also to my sponsors and the people who invest into those events.
“So I was fighting for someone that wasn’t deserving (of) being in the situation. But then, I went back to the bus after that and I just felt really, really bad for him.”
On the restrictor-plate tracks, drivers are less willing to go first because they want to avoid slower times.
That led to Stenhouse failing to get in a lap in the appropriate amount of time and led to him watching the race from home.
While the group qualifying rules may be flawed, Stenhouse deserves some of the blame.
His team knows the rules and he should have made sure he put in a qualifying lap in the appropriate amount of time. For her part, Danica Patrick was just being a good girlfriend.
“As much as a girlfriend, I wanted him to stay and be there, I was like ‘I get it, if you want to go home, go home. I get it.’ He wanted to ride the tractor all day and not even watch the race, which I wouldn’t want to watch either if I was in that scenario, so I really understood where he was coming from. He ended up doing the right thing. He had some sponsor obligations the next day,” she said.
“I just hope that no one undeserving is ever in that scenario in the future. Hopefully NASCAR does something that it doesn’t happen.”
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