Danica Patrick continued her learning process in the NASCAR Nationwide Series by finishing 27th in Saturday's race at Michigan International Speedway.
The IndyCar Series regular had yet another tough race that saw her struggle with a loose car for most of the first half of the distance. Having started 33rd after a compromised qualifying effort, she moved up slightly in the order but just after lap 20 she had already dropped a lap down on the leaders.
The lack of caution periods made it impossible for her to recover once she was a number of laps down and, although her pace would improve significantly in the second half of the race, a 27th place was all she would be able to get, missing her top-20 target on her sixth Nationwide series start.
"I just held on to it for the first half of the race, it was so hard to drive," said Patrick. "It was loose all the way around, getting in, in the middle, getting off [the corner]. I felt like I was tiptoeing around out there. It's a shame.
"The car was good all weekend, it really was and I really wanted to do well. We were in the top 20 the whole time in practice. In qualifying we had a little loose moment, otherwise we would've been up there in the top 20 again. I think by the end of the race we were kind of running those kinds of laps, but we were just so loose to start, that we were unable to stay up there. It's kind of the way it's been for me this year. In the first half of the race I learn what I need for the last half of the race.
"Needless to say, we're going to tighten it up a whole bunch for the next ones so that we can at least just run. If it was tight I could've at least run around the top and use the wall to run around but it was really loose."
Patrick's next outing in the Nationwide Series will be on Sept. 26 at the one-mile, highly banked Dover International Speedway, a concrete track known as the "Monster Mile."
Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski took a dominant win from pole position in the Michigan event, further stretching his lead in the championship over Roush Fenway's Carl Edwards, who just edged Kyle Busch for second place.