Danica Patrick crashes in Daytona qualifier

Danica Patrick's car slides down the track after a crash during the first of two NASCAR Daytona Duel 150 qualifying auto races in Daytona Beach, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012.
AP Photo/Jim Topper

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Danica Patrick was calm, collected and even cracked a joke after she got caught in a wreck and hit the wall hard in her qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday.

Her ride didn't fare quite so well.

Racing in the first two 150-mile qualifying races Thursday, Patrick got spun out on the last lap, then hit the inside wall on the backstretch. The wreck demolished the front end of Patrick's car, and she'll have to use a backup in Sunday's Daytona 500.

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After being released from the infield medical care center, Patrick said she hoped her backup car might be even faster than her primary car. Maybe, she joked, the accident will turn out to be a "blessing in big disguise."

Tony Stewart won the race.