Danica Patrick entered Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway confident and thinking it was her best chance to score her maiden NASCAR win.
But her night came to an unexpected end on lap 84, when Patrick was left with nowhere to go when Jeffrey Earnhardt was turned off of Turn 2. In the ensuing chaos, Patrick's car veered sideways and savagely hit the backstretch wall.
"I have no idea because I didn't see it," Patrick said when asked what happened. "All I saw was that there was an accident happening in front of me and I went low to miss it and other than that, honestly I would be making it up from whatever happened from there on out."
For most of the evening, it appeared Patrick's No. 7 car for JR Motorsports was one of the cars to beat as she ran with the lead pack throughout and even paced the field for 14 laps.
Ultimately, though, all this did was make the end result all the more disappointing.
"It's just really frustrating when I have as fast as a car as I did," Patrick said. "I know Tony (Eury, crew chief) Jr. is frustrated. I know he expected to see it in Victory Lane and I did, too –- especially after the big accident in (Turns) 1 and 2, I thought, ‘This job got a little easier.'"
But it wasn't to be and instead of celebrating her first series win, Patrick's night ended early with a wrecked race car –- a car she thought was good enough to win with.
"I'm sure there were plenty of other cars that had pretty darn good speed, especially with the way you could work in tandems –- obviously tandems are the stronger way to go," Patrick said. "But I definitely think I had one of the cars to beat tonight, absolutely."