Danica Patrick didn't complete the first turn of the Zippo 200 before she made contact with Ryan Truex at Watkins Glen International on Saturday.
Truex lost control of his car, slid into the grass and back onto the track in front of Patrick, who started 23rd. The accident bowed her hood, blocked Patrick's view and destroyed the radiator as the grille was pulverized in the process.
"I can't see the (expletive) windshield," Patrick said after the contact.
The JR Motorsports team called for Patrick to pit. The crew performed cosmetic adjustments to the car and secured the hood before Patrick returned to the track on Lap 3.
Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. told his driver, "Keep any eye on the water pressure and the water temp ... watch your water temp ... if you don't, you're going to blow it up."
That's when Patrick informed Eury that her water pressure gauge read "zero right now".
Patrick took the car to the garage on Lap 4 after completing just two laps, but the accident proved terminal.
"OK, we're done," Eury said. "It blew the motor up."
Patrick, who entered the weekend 10th in the Nationwide Series point standings, finished a career low 43rd.
"One thing leads to the next in these situations and the radiator was leaking," Patrick said. "I noticed in my lap that it took a long, long time to get to fourth gear on the back straight. It might have been losing power at that point in time. When they got the radiator changed - and they did it really quickly - I went to fire it and there was water coming out of the tail pipe. It wouldn't turn over.
"I feel so bad. I wish it would have gone differently but that's the sport. There's a lot of stuff that is out of your control and there's a lot of stuff you look back at that you would've, could've, should've done differently but that's just racing."