Save Mart 350: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick collide early

Save Mart 350: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick collide earlyā€¯

While following her into a hairpin turn, Earnhardt lost control of his vehicle and ended up colliding with Patrick. "We're just kind of looking at what opportunities there are out there for me". That's really all that will matter.

Dale Jr. says: "You go to tracks like Daytona, where you think you should win, and if you have a bad day there, you beat yourself up forever trying to figure out what happened".

Patrick said she didn't believe she did anything wrong in the first collision even though Earnhardt Jr. only took partial blame. "We had a really fast Elite Support Freightliner Ford, and, man, when you have a vehicle that great, you really enjoy every moment of it, and today was a day I really enjoyed". I hope people just thought I was good and honest and represented the sport well. I'll take some responsibility for that.

ESPN has Patrick quoted as saying that she felt like Earnhardt "kinda lost it" and that there was "a lot of dive-bombing" going on in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday. He skidded through the paved inside part of the corner before sliding to a stop in the middle of the corner where Patrick had nowhere to go before running into him. Larson and Patrick were three-wide entering turn 4, Patrick, who was on the outside, got spun around.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. arrived on the scene behind Larson and Earnhardt Jr. and beside Clint Bowyer.

Neither driver was injured, but Stenhouse's auto suffered extensive damage, and he finished 38th.

Danica Patrick with boyfriend and fellow NASCAR driver Rickey Stenhouse Jr.

Eventual race victor Kevin Harvick pitted one lap before McMurray, and when he returned to the track on fresh tires, Harvick rapidly ate into Keselowski's advantage, passing the No. 2 Ford Fusion for the lead on Lap 89. Instead he blamed Larson. It will be pretty weird I think to come back to the 500, I'm going to go to the 500 whether I've got any work to do or not.

The wreck ended Stenhouse's race, but Patrick and Earnhardt Jr. were able to carry on.

Earnhardt rejoined the race back in 36th place in the 38-car field.

She told the media to chill on making the story more dramatic than it needed to be. But if we don't come out of here with a good day, it just wasn't meant to be. "It is what it is".

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