MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — It was a rough opening practice at Martinsville Speedway for NASCAR’s most prolific rookies.
Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who are battling for Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year on the track and involved romantically off of the track, both ruined their primary cars.
Patrick, who drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, hit the wall on the 0.526-mile oval about 30 minutes into practice on Friday. A short while later, Stenhouse also hit the wall.
Patrick’s backup car is one that has had success on the series’ smallest track. It made its debut here in March 2009, and Tony Stewart piloted it to a third-place finish, the best at the time for the team. It hasn’t raced since June 2011 in a “seat swap” event at Watkins Glen, N.Y.