15 3 LINKEDIN 5 COMMENTMORE

Danica Patrick, who drives the No. 10 Chevrolet, is in her second full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and her second with Stewart-Haas Racing and crew chief Tony Gibson. Patrick, who spent seven years driving open-wheel cars in the IndyCar Series (2005-11), has two career top-10 finishes and one career pole in Sprint Cup.

Danica Patrick scored her fifth top-20 finish of the season at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

SONOMA: Carl Edwards earns first road-course victory

WHERE SHE STARTED: Qualified 11th, advancing to the final round of knockout qualification.

WHERE SHE FINISHED: She finished 18th after dropping as low as 30th to record her best performance at a Sprint Cup road course, bettering a 29th-place finish last year at Sonoma and a 20th-place result at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

WHAT SHE SAID: "I think we kind of salvaged something there," Patrick said. "It would be good for a couple laps and then would just go away. We got lucky getting the Lucky Dog and then just pitted a couple of times for fresh tires and fuel and wound up 18th. It's not the best day, but I think we keep improving."

HOW IT UNFOLDED: The No. 10 Chevrolet dropped back early in the race as tires began losing grip. "I don't think we have a good long-distance car," Patrick radioed Gibson. "It drives well for a couple laps, but it just doesn't hold well."

Patrick fell a lap down as the result of the tire issues and some minor fender damage. When caution flew on lap 75 after Matt Kenseth crashed, Patrick was the first car one lap down, getting the free pass and back on the lead lap. After two more pit stops for fresh tires, Patrick moved up to 18th.

NEXT RACE: Quaker State 400, June 28 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT)

LAST TIME: Started 29th and finished 23rd on June 30, 2013 in her lone race at the 1.5-mile oval.

PHOTOS: Danica Patrick's NASCAR career

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
15 3 LINKEDIN 5 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/T36w9q