Danica Patrick added another May moment to cherish.
"Chicks rule, huh?" crew chief Tony Gibson playfully told her at Kansas.
She may not have totally ruled, but she put on a performance that recalled her better ones at the Indianapolis 500. Patrick showed that she can be a serious driver who can craft a complete weekend and contend for a top-five finish.
Jeff Gordon, the Sprint Cup points leader, took the lead with eight laps to go and held off pole-sitter Kevin Harvick, who led much of the race, to win Saturday night's 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway.
But Patrick was the surprise of Saturday night with her seventh-place finish, the best of her Cup career.
Stewart-Haas Racing boss and teammate Tony Stewart, Gibson, and her parents were among the throng of well-wishers in the garage that made it a celebratory scene straight out of her dazzling Daytona 500 to kick off 2013.
"I've always believed in myself and with the right situation, a good car, that I can do it," she said.
She easily had her best weekend of the season, spending most of the race inside the top 10, and brought a needed jolt of electricity in a race during which the lights went out on the backstretch, passing teammate Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to move into third with 95 laps left.
She also passed six-time champion Jimmie Johnson on a late restart, adding him to the collection of heavy hitters left in the rearview mirror.
"The most rewarding part of my night was probably when I drove around the outside of the No. 48 on a restart," he said. "That was probably my most rewarding thing of the night. I say that with all the respect in the world. It's a big deal because he is Jimmie Johnson."
Patrick hadn't finished better this season than 14th at Fontana and her lone top-10 in the Cup series was eighth in the 2013 Daytona 500. She won a pole at Kansas in IndyCar in 2005.