\"Danica

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick crashes out of NASCAR race

\"Danica

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick was involved in a 12-car wreck while racing in Daytona on Saturday, knocking her out of the race. However, Patrick remains confident other opportunities will be hers in NASCAR.

Patrick, who made her NASCAR debut on Saturday, ran outside of the top 20 for most of Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Patrick, who escaped her crash without any injuries, told the media after the race she is learning as she goes along.

"It's important to have realistic expectations," Patrick said. "There's going to be spikes in performance, I don't doubt that. But there's also going to be tough days. And today, I would say, was more of a tough day."

Co-owner of JR Motorsports team, Dale Earnhardt Jr, who also had a vicious crash later in the race and will front the money to pay for Patrick's car to be fixed, spoke highly of the Irish American racecar driver.

According to Earnhardt, NASCAR's most popular and rock star-like driver, the fact that Patrick wasn't close to the front Saturday doesn't mean she can't be competitive in NASCAR right away.

"This is such a different kind of racing than she'll do the rest of the season," Earnhardt said. "I think that everybody should just take Daytona for what it is."

Tony Stewart won the race for the fifth time in six years.

Stewart said on Patrick, "She got a lot of laps in today, and that's what needed to happen," Stewart said. "It would have been a disaster if she had been taken out on the second lap and didn't get a chance to learn anything."

Patrick finished sixth in last week's ARCA event at Daytona giving her the confidence to move her NASCAR debut up a week to the Nationwide opener.

"I wish I would have run up there at the beginning and felt more comfortable, but I just didn't," Patrick said.

"And that just proves how hard it is out here, and how much there is to learn and how good all these drivers really are."

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