Danica Patrick has quiet Budweiser Duel, finishes 17th

Danica Patrick had a quiet, uneventful day in her qualifying race for the Daytona 500, as she avoided trouble and finished 17th Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

"Yeah, it's not an exciting mission when you've just got to bring it home," Patrick said post-race. "But, it is for the Daytona 500, so you've got to keep that in mind.

"We wanted to make sure we've got it on that front row for Sunday."

Patrick entered her Budweiser Duel knowing she was guaranteed her starting spot in Sunday's 500 as long as she didn't damage her No. 10 Chevrolet and have to go to a backup car. And there was even some chatter beforehand that Patrick would head to the garage almost immediately to preserve her starting position.

But Patrick vetoed the idea, wanting to get as many laps as possible in the draft -- something she hasn't had a lot of throughout Speedweeks -- and stayed on the track for all 60 circuits.

In the end, the day wasn't about winning for Patrick; it was all about gaining experience and getting as comfortable as she could racing around other cars.

Unfortunately, however, Patrick didn't do much drafting, as she spent the majority of the afternoon running single-file due to how difficult it was to pass.

"I'll be really honest, I didn't feel like I got a lot of great experience on how to pass or the draft so much," Patrick said. "I was able to hang with the group. I guess I did learn that being too tight is pretty detrimental here.

"If you can't keep your foot in it and run up behind cars, then you're going to struggle to make moves. It looks really hard to pass, to be honest."

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