Danica getting a feel for street course

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

Danica Patrick hoped she would be a hit yesterday, she just didn't think it would happen the way it did.

Patrick slammed her No. 7 Andretti Green Racing Honda-powered Dallara into the wall on Turn 2 of the Exhibition Place temporary street course during the second round of practice for tomorrow's Honda Indy Toronto.

It was the final indignity for the 27-year-old darling of open-wheel racing -- occurring on her first day racing in an IndyCar at Toronto.

During the morning session, Patrick was dead last with a time of 1:04.942, almost three seconds off the pace set by defending champ Will Power.

While Patrick admits that she is at her best on ovals, she has been getting better on road and street courses and qualified in the top 10 last week at Watkins Glen.

"There are so many good drivers this year. The field is super-competitive, so to be eighth (at the Glen) was good," she said. "It was the highest start I've had on a road course this year."

She said that, with one more session today before qualifying, she hopes the AGR team can fix what was wrong.

While she was at the bottom of the leaderboard, Raphael Matos, the Brazilian rookie with Luczo Dragon Racing, was fastest in his No. 2 U.S. Marines-sponsored machine, posting a lap of 1:01:473 in the afternoon's hour-long practice.

Not long after he set the top time, he too crashed, but said afterward that the team will be able to put the car back together for today's practice.

Matos, while a rookie in the IndyCar series, has raced three previous times in Toronto on undercard events.

"The track was just as bumpy as I remember it," he said. "I just lost it. No one to blame but myself."

Justin Wilson, the winner last week at the Glen for Dale Coyne Racing, was second fastest yesterday with a time of 1:01.762.

"I've always had good luck racing in Canada," he said. "I got my first Champ Car win in Toronto (in 2005) and won again in Edmonton (in '06)."

Toronto's Paul Tracy ended the day 13th with a time of 1:02:365 and Montreal's Alex Tagliani was 17th in 1:02.725.


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