- (Photo: Reuters/Brian Blanco)
Danica Patrick walked away from a racing accident unscathed at the Phoenix International Speedway on Sunday.
The 30-year-old NASCAR driver lost a tire on her car during lap 176 while she was in 26th place. The tire blew to pieces and caused the car to smash into a wall. Fortunately, the car ended up in the pit lane after the crash, and Patrick was able to climb out and receive treatment at the infield care center, The Associated Press reported.
"[The car] took a hard hit [on] both sides and I'm fine, so NASCAR is doing a good job at safety," Patrick told reporters. "But no real good warning. The car wasn't all that tight and most of the [problems] were in the rear, so there was no real vibration that told me that was going to happen."
While Patrick had no warning of tire problems, the track in Phoenix is well known to be hard on brakes because of its flat layout, and right front tires can fail due to the buildup in brake heat from excessive use, reported Yahoo! Sports. Patrick's crash also affected David Ragen, whose car smacked into Patrick's and flipped her hood over the windshield.
"Whenever those right-fronts go, they always hit hard because you don't broadside, you hit more straight on," said Patrick.
Just one week after finishing eighth at the Sprint Cup Series' opening race, Patrick's crash during Sunday's Subway 500 in Phoenix comes as a disappointment. The driver officially started 40th during the race and struggled throughout the day; she finished in 39th place.
"For me, it sucks to lose the points," Patrick recounted. "Everybody works hard and after last weekend, we just wanted to get these three races to get some solid points to re-establish the garage area. We're parked in the dirt this weekend, so I really wanted my guys to get into the garage area. We'll just have to get it at Vegas."
Meanwhile, it was the driver's personal life took a blow last year. Patrick announced that she had filed for a divorce from husband Paul Hospenthal in order to end their "irretrievably broken" marriage.
The record-making racecar driver married her former physical therapist in 2005. After seven years of marriage, Patrick took to her Facebook page in December to announce that she was harmoniously splitting from Hospenthal.
"I am sad to inform my fans that after 7 years, Paul and I have decided to amicably end our marriage," posted the NASCAR star. "This isn't easy for either of us, but mutually it has come to this. He has been an important person and friend in my life and that's how we will remain moving forward."
Today, Patrick is recovering from her split and admitted to dating fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. last month.