Danica Patrick crashed her car on the final lap of Thursday's Gatorade Duel race at Daytona International Speedway, marking an unfortunate end to her first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action.
Patrick was running at the back of the pack and then tried to make a move down low on the white-flag lap. But Jamie McMurray came down the track on the backstretch and made contact with Aric Almirola, who then ran into Patrick.
The rookie Cup driver headed straight for the inside retaining wall at full speed and collided with it in a violent crash. A split-second before she hit, Patrick let go of the wheel and held her arms up toward her head.
"I just stayed low and we were just making our run down the back, and all of a sudden I got hit," Patrick said. "I don't know if I could have done anything different. It was a pretty fast and sideways trajectory, so I kind of just braced myself."
Patrick is already locked in to the Daytona 500, so she'll just have to start Sunday's race in the rear of the field along with Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Menard and David Gilliland, all of whom also crashed during the Gatorade Duel.
"I'm just really bummed out we didn't finish the last two corners," Patrick said. "Maybe the backup car will be faster."
Prior to the crash, Patrick said she was feeling comfortable in her first Sprint Cup action and felt it was a fairly calm race. Her confidence is high heading into the Daytona 500, she said.
"I feel good," she said. "I feel comfortable and confident and feel if things fall our way, I can take the experience from today to Sunday. I think it can be a good day."
Here's the video of Patrick's crash: