In what’s already shaping up to be a slugfest of a Sprint Cup season, Danica Patrick took advantage of NASCAR’s visit to the Golden State this past weekend to rack up another big victory. Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t in Fontana, Calif., where Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400; instead, Patrick’s win came due west of the track, in Los Angeles, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie was honored with her second consecutive crown as “Favorite Female Athlete” at the annual Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Patrick beat out three other candidates in the voting—tennis-playing sisters Serena and Venus Williams, as well as gymnast and Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas—to take home the coveted orange blimp. And this actually was Patrick’s third KCA, having also won in 2008.
“This is a huge honor,” Patrick said during the awards ceremony. “Kids mean so much to me. When I meet [them] and see [them] at the racetrack, and [they] cheer for me, it means more than anything else.”
There wasn’t as much to cheer about during the weekend’s race, though. Patrick had a difficult time in practice, qualifying in the 40th position in her 2014 Chevy SS, but she did manage to work her way up through the pack to finish in 26th and add 18 points to her season total. Taking the checkered flag was Kyle Busch, who achieved his 25th Sprint Cup victory after leaders Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano crashed themselves out of the race on the final lap.
Hamlin was hospitalized overnight for observation, while Logano and Tony Stewart then took their battle to pit road for an energetic “discussion” of the finer points of NASCAR etiquette.
Five races into the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the top five drivers are:
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Brad Keselowski
- Jimmie Johnson
- Craig Edwards
- Greg Biffle
Next up on the schedule: the STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, slated for April 7, 2013.