After a poor effort in qualifying led to her starting 37th in Sunday's NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway, not much was expected of Danica Patrick.
But a gamble by crew chief Tony Gibson to go with two tires on her final pit stop allowed Patrick to gain much-needed track position and she finished the Quicken Loans 400 in the 13th position.
"Yellows definitely helped us be able to get track position as far as closing up the gaps and being able to pit a few times," Patrick said. "We tried to take right-sides and get track position early on. It just didn't go well.
"The last run was the best run, I felt, as far as the balance of the car, which I was surprised because we had fallen off a little bit at the end of the run before."
This was only the third time this season Patrick has finished better than 25th. Her other notable results were an eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a 12th at Martinsville.
But more often than not, her rookie season in Sprint Cup has been a struggle. In the eight races leading into Michigan, Patrick had an average finish of 28th and only once was scored on the same lap as the leaders.
"It's nice to just get a decent finish for the team and for GoDaddy," Patrick said. "It's been rough going since Martinsville. This will hopefully get everyone's head up a little bit and we will go on.
"I think we have been strong lately. We just needed to have days like today where we finished it off."