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No Daytona Pole For Patrick This Year

A failed engine during a practice run has ended Danica Patrick's bid for another front of the pack start at Daytona.
DAYTONA-Danica Patrick started at the front of the pack at the Daytona 500 last year, the first female racer ever to do that. This year she'll start near the back of the pack.

During a practice run Saturday Patrick had a blown engine. Smoke came billowing from her #10 GoDaddy car near the start/finish line. Moments earlier her teammate Tony Stewart had a similar blown engine. Both engines were supplied by Hendrick Motorsports.

Patrick and Stewart will receive backup engines, but the engine failure means Patrick and Stewart will have to start from the rear of the field in the Daytona 500, because it is an unapproved engine change. Both drivers will also start from the rear in the Budweiser Duel races on Thursday.

Before the engine mishap Patrick's best practice lap was only the 22nd fastest. That's a switch from last year when she had one of the fastest cars.

"It's definitely a departure from last year when we were really quick when we unloaded and were fast each practice and everything was perfect," said Patrick to reporters in Daytona. "This is a different year and that happens."

Patrick is optimistic her team will work things out. "I don't doubt their effort and ability to fix this."
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