NASCAR At Dover: Danica Patrick, Sam Hornish Jr. Tangle In Nationwide Series Race

Sam Hornish Jr. looked at the reporters gathered around his car after a 13th-place finish in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover and gave a slight wince.

The three-time IndyCar champion knew what the topic was: His contact with Danica Patrick with 67 laps to go in the race.

"I don't want to be here talking to you guys about having a problem with her," he said resignedly. "I know that if that happens with Michael Annett or T.J. Bell, that we don't stand here and have this conversation. It's just like, 'Man...'"

Such is life for a NASCAR driver who has an on-track incident with Patrick, particularly one with a long history of battles with the Go Daddy-sponsored racing superstar.

"I don't want to have any problems with her," Hornish said. "I don't harness any ill will, you know?"

It's unclear if Patrick feels the same way after Hornish bobbled and made contact with the No. 7 car as the laps wound down in the 5-Hour Energy 200. Patrick lost control of her car after Hornish hit her and crashed along with Brad Sweet.

After being told her part-friend, part-rival Hornish was the one who initiated the incident, Patrick came on the team radio and said: "Shocker! Reaaaaal shocker!"

Spotter T.J. Majors then told Patrick sarcastically, "He might have had a tire going down," which was a reference to Hornish's explanation when the two drivers collided at the end of last month's Talladega race.

But Hornish had a different view of the Dover incident than Patrick likely did. The Penske Racing driver and former IndyCar colleague of Patrick's said he had a run on her coming off Turn 2 and got position on the inside heading down the backstretch.

In his view – and admittedly, this was before he saw a replay – Hornish "felt like she kind of came down the hill a little bit." At that point, Hornish said, he tried to stay off her and give her room so they wouldn't wreck.

But in doing so, he either got a piece of the apron or simply got loose, and he scooted up the track and into Patrick's left rear.

"I was like, 'Man, she's coming down. She's not going to give me any room at the exit. I need to get out of here,'" Hornish said. "There was not enough time to be able to do it."

So are Patrick and Hornish – who were childhood rivals in go-karts – simply magnets for each other on the track?

"She keeps following me around," Hornish said with the hint of a smile. "I can say that now, because I was in IndyCars first and I was here (in NASCAR) first.

"I just prefer the days when I'm far ahead of it and don't have to worry about it."

Patrick gave an interview to ESPN after the race and said she needed to see the video before making a conclusion. She declined further comment after the TV interview.

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