Jacques Villeneuve said a set of circumstances led to the Penske Racing driver's last-lap collision with Danica Patrick that cost the Stewart-Haas driver a likely top-five finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America on Saturday.
Patrick had enjoyed one of her strongest NASCAR races until her run-in with Villeneuve, briefly taking the lead at one stage and running fourth into the final lap. The 1997 Formula 1 World Champion insisted that there was nothing intentional about their subsequent collision.
"We were racing hard and I wasn't fighting with Danica," said Villeneuve, who had dominated the middle stages of the race before losing several positions with a spin. "I was fighting with Max Papis and just before the braking, I guess he was wanting to cross over and go to the inside of Danica. He probably didn't know I was there, so it pushed me in the grass. You don't slow down that much in the grass, so by that time I was on the racetrack again, I was going a little bit faster than Danica. That's all."
Villeneuve, who exchanged words with some of Patrick's crew members after the race, recovered to finish sixth. Patrick had to settle for 12th.
''It just would have been good to get a good result,'' admitted the disappointed Patrick. ''People say I don't get good results, but today I ran well. I feel like lately we've been running much better but we haven't sort of finished the deal and gotten the result.''