The Danica Patrick NASCAR era continued on Saturday. This week, Danica completed the race -- although she did finish 31st. Let's see how she faired in the ratings. Are people really interested or is the novelty starting to fade?
Here's the Associated Press report:
(AP) — Danica Patrick accomplished one of her goals by finishing the race. She is still a long way from the lead packs in NASCAR.
Kyle Busch barely overtook Greg Biffle out of the final turn in a green-white-checker finish to win by 0.051 seconds in the NASCAR Nationwide race at California on Saturday, with Brad Keselowski right behind them.
It was a heartbreaking loss for polesitter Joey Logano, who led 130 laps and was up front when the final caution came out. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate finished fifth.
Patrick was 31st in her second Nationwide race, three laps off the pace and ahead of six other cars that were still running at the end.
But unlike Daytona, where she got caught up in a 12-car crash just past the halfway point, Patrick was racing at the finish on the slick two-mile superspeedway where she was originally scheduled to race for the first time. And she made progress during a trying 300-mile race, though she wasn't involved in the exciting finish.
"I wanted to finish, and the expectation of staying on the first lap was probably not realistic and I knew that," Patrick said. "It wasn't so pretty to start, but I came here and did what I wanted today."
Logano was trying to win from the pole at California for the second time in a row. But Busch still gave Gibbs its fifth consecutive Nationwide victory in Southern California, with an average speed of 143.886 mph despite leading only four of the 152 laps.
"A little bittersweet for Joey," team owner J.D. Gibbs said. "For us to come through that and for Kyle on that last lap to do what we had to do to win the race is a big deal for us."
When the race restarted after an earlier caution for debris, Logano was in 11th place behind several cars who decided not to pit and 1.5 seconds behind Biffle, who had taken the lead. He needed only eight laps to go back, passing Biffle coming out of Turn 4 on lap 100 and staying there until the final restart.