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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 14, 2010

Patrick crashes in NASCAR debut


Advertiser News Services

Even as her mangled race car belched steam from its radiator in the background, Danica Patrick remained confident she would have good days in NASCAR.

This wasn't one of them.

Making her NASCAR debut, Patrick ran outside the top 20 for most of yesterday's Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 race at Daytona International Speedway before getting caught up in a 12-car wreck just past the race's halfway point.

Patrick was hoping to learn as much as she could about a new style of racing. She ended up going to the school of hard knocks.

"It's important to have realistic expectations," said Patrick, who ended up in 35th place. "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."

Tony Stewart went on to win the race for the fifth time in six years.

And it was an expensive day for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who went airborne in a frightening wreck later in the race. He and Patrick both escaped without significant injuries.

Earnhardt is a co-owner of the JR Motorsports team, which now must find the money to repair Patrick's car and completely replace the one Earnhardt wrecked a bill that could total $200,000.

AMERICA'S CUP

BMW ORACLE GOES FOR CLINCHER TODAY

The America's Cup hasn't been this close to being back in American hands since Dennis Conner lost it 15 years ago.

Software tycoon Larry Ellison's multinational crew needs one more win against two-time defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland to deliver the oldest trophy in international sports to San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club.

It took just one race in the weather-delayed 33rd America's Cup at Valencia, Spain for challenger BMW Oracle Racing to show that the radical wing sail on its monster trimaran is a game-changer.

Alinghi's reaction to losing the first race by a whopping 15 minutes, 28 seconds was shock.

The Swiss can't build a wing in just less than 48 hours for their sleek catamaran. It took the Americans several months and millions of dollars to design, build and test the 223-foot wing, which makes the boat go faster than with a traditional soft-sail rig.

Race 2 is scheduled for today over a triangle course on the Mediterranean. The first 13 miles are into the wind, followed by two legs across the wind, a tricky angle for multihulls to sail.

BASEBALL

UPTON LOSES TO RAYS IN ARBITRATION CASE

Tampa Bay has defeated outfielder B.J. Upton during salary arbitration, leaving the Rays 5-0 in cases that have gone to hearings.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time, Upton received a raise from $435,000 to $3 million this year rather than his request for $3.3 million. Arbitrators Gil Vernon, Elizabeth Neumeier and Elliott Shriftman issued a decision yesterday, a day after hearing arguments.

Players and clubs have split the cases already decided. Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart won his arbitration case a day earlier.