By Jean-Paul Salamanca ( | First Posted: Mar 04, 2013 01:22 PM EST

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick escaped unharmed Sunday after crashing her car during a race in at the Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo : Reuters)

Danica Patrick started out strong last week during the Daytona 500, but she was lucky to escape uninjured after her No.10 car slammed into the wall at the Phoenix International Raceway Sunday.

Patrick was in 26th place with about 100 laps to go in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Subway 500 when her right front tire blew out as she attempted to come around a curve. She lost control of the car as the right side of the vehicle slammed into the wall. As her car slid back onto the track, race car driver David Ragan slammed into her, causing Patrick's car hood to flip over the windshield, the jarring force of the impact triggering protective foam to open up in Patrick's driver side.

Despite the crash, Patrick escaped with no injuries. Aferwards, the female race car star recalled the moments of the crash.

"Whenever those right-fronts go, they always hit hard because you don't broadside, you hit more straight on," Patrick said. "It took a hard hit both sides and I'm fine, so NASCAR is doing a good job at safety. But no real good warning. The car wasn't all that tight and most of the (problems) were in the rear, so there was no real vibration that told me that was going to happen."

Patrick made history last week when she became the first woman to lead the Daytona 500 and finished eight in one of NASCAR's most famous races. However, the crash at Phoenix caused her to finish in 39th place.

However, despite the setback at Phoenix, Patrick has been rising in the ranks in NASCAR, becoming a box office-type star for race car driving and generating a ton of interest in the sport, according to a recent poll by Seton Hall University.

According to the poll, 21 percent of the poll's respondents said they were more interested in the Daytona 500 this year because Patrick captured the pole position.

"Nascar can be very excited that one in five Americans were more interested, something any sport would love to have," Rick Gentile, director of the poll, told Bloomberg News. "That's really a huge boost to the sport from a single participant."

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