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NASCAR At Bristol: Danica Patrick Crashes With 65 Laps Remaining

Danica Patrick had had a solid, clean effort in her first Sprint Cup visit to Bristol Motor Speedway, but that is now over just 65 laps from the conclusion. Patrick was nudged by Regan Smith - who has hit everything but the lottery thus far in the Irwin Tools Night Race - and slammed the inside wall on the frontstretch to demolish her No. 10 Chevy.

Patrick joins owner Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman with a torn up race car in what has been a miserable evening for Stewart-Haas Racing. Newman was crashed in an incident with perennial archnemesis Juan Pablo Montoya, then Stewart crashed while battling for the lead with Matt Kenseth. Stewart subsequently fired his helmet at Kenseth's Ford during the caution period and threatened to wreck the Roush-Fenway driver at any opportunity the rest of the year.

Patrick, who will make her first-ever trip to the Atlanta Motor Speedway next week for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup events, had been on the lead lap for most of the night and had enjoyed a quiet night that seemed destined to net her a career-best result in her handful of Sprint Cup races thus far in 2012. Instead, her demolished Chevrolet will now be loaded on the truck.

Carl Edwards leads but might not have enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag. He previously won at Bristol in 2007 and 2008.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.