Danica Patrick knows how important qualifying is at a 1-mile track such as Phoenix International Raceway.

So she knows she could have a long day ahead of her Sunday in the Subway Fresh Fit 500.

Patrick will start 40th in the 43-car field after a lap of 132.890 mph in qualifying, where her car wiggled several times as she tried to make it through the turns.

“It’s really disappointing. … It was just not a good qualifying effort, really not what I was looking for,” Patrick said.

“I know how important it is on these short tracks to qualify well. We’re just going to have to come out of it like a bat out of hell at the beginning (of the race).”

Last November, Patrick started 37th and finished 17th, even fighting for a top-12 finish before losing several positions on a last-lap wreck.

“We know we always get better in the race and that is the strong part of the weekend usually for us,” Patrick said. “To have a really great weekend all around, you have to qualify better.”

Patrick, who became the first woman ever to sit on the pole for a Sprint Cup race when she won the pole for the Daytona 500 last week, said she had the same issue in practice Friday, where the rear of the car wanted to kick out on her.

On her qualifying laps, the car wiggled several times and Patrick said “I about got in the fence too wide in 3 and 4.”

“It just was loose,” Patrick said. “I couldn’t turn the car. It took to the point where I got slowed down enough way wide in the corner before I could turn it.

“It was just too loose.”

While Patrick had hoped that the changes from practice would work, she knew that the Stewart-Haas Racing car could be a handful.

“We really tried to chase that,” Patrick said. “We knew that from last year, being here, that it was going to get loose in qualifying.

“In practice at the end, we made a change and the car was dancing all around on top of the track. We thought we fixed it for qualifying but it had the same problem again.”

Teams will have two practices Saturday in preparation for the race Sunday.

Mark Martin won the pole for the race.

Source: Sportnews.com

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