Indy Racing League Q & A: IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick participated in a Q&A session. Here are a few quotes from the interview.
- 28-year-old native of Roscoe, Ill competing in her sixth season in the IndyCar Series in 2010.
- Drives No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com car for Andretti Autosport.
- Currently 16th in IndyCar Series point standings.
- Has qualified in the top-10 in every Indianapolis 500 start and finished in the top-10 in four of her five starts.
- First female driver to lead the Indianapolis 500 when she led 19 laps as a rookie in 2005.
Q. Tomorrow starts the month of May, the shortened month of May. Can you talk a little bit about the compressed schedule. Do you feel more pressure to get up to speed?
DANICA PATRICK: Well, yeah, it's kind of hard to almost call it a month of May because it's not. It's like half of a month.
But, anyway, I always enjoyed everything that was the whole month before. So, you know, I didn't have really much criticism for it. I think that one of the issues that tends to come up is rain issues. You end up feeling like you're pretty ready by the end of the month, but as a driver, practice is practice, and you can always get better.
I think it will be an interesting balance this year between qualifying runs and race runs, trying to kind of get in sync as a group and go out there and run in packs. So, you know, being on a big team will probably help because all five of us can coordinate and have a good pack to run in.
Hopefully the weather will hold up. It's supposed to be all right this weekend. Hopefully that continues through the rest of the month.
Q. You mentioned qualifying. Can you talk a little bit about the qualifying format. Could be a little extra stressful trying to get in the top nine and then making the run for the pole.
DANICA PATRICK: I think it will end up being like two qualifyings because the track usually just gets quicker at the end of the day. So there's that period in between the beginning and the end of qualifying that it does go slower.
I guess it will be interesting. You know, I mean, you can go out in the morning and run a decent time and end up being, I'm tense now. You go back out there and, Do I risk it or not, but then you're going to have to end up having to if you think you can go faster.
We'll see how it works. I didn't have any criticism for the way it was done before. The only thing that for me kind of was a little unfair because if the end of the day came at qualifying and you had cars that really didn't even have a shot, probably weren't even going to qualify anyway, and they were getting in line, then it was a little bit unfair to be taking up that time.
But also that's part of qualifying, is being smart enough to get in line at the right time. So it will be interesting. I hope I'm on the upside of this and we can get into that top nine real easy and go for another run. Maybe there won't be any activity because everybody will be like, Top nine is pretty good, first three rows, let's go home.
It's going to be interesting.
Q. Yeah, five years later. Usually in time there's perspective when you look back on things.
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah. I guess I would have to view my career really as pretty blessed really. I've been really fortunate along the way. You know, some really great things have happened. So, you know, I guess that's really how I feel.
I guess I've learned over the years how much hard work pays off, just how really blessed and lucky I am to have this career and, you know, to get the breaks that I do, things like that.
Q. So specifically how much did your life accelerate from that day forward?
DANICA PATRICK: Well, I remember coming into the first year and thinking, Well, you know, there's no guarantee that I would stay if I don't do well my first year. Who knows what's going to happen. You know, kind of after the first part of the season, which included through Indy and stuff, I went, I think maybe I'll get another job next year.
I think it was a really pivotal thing for that, as well as in the media, in the fans' eyes, as well. It was a game‑changer.
Q. Do you feel blessed, I don't know that you call it your driving style, that your approach seems to fit Indianapolis, the smoothness? Do you feel blessed that fits basically the world's greatest race? Do you understand what I'm saying?
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, I do. I get the question definitely every now and again about what it is about Indianapolis that makes you good there. You always do really well, you've always been up in the top 10, qualifying in the race every year.
I don't know exactly. But, you know, you've probably hit some of it. I am smooth and patient. I try and drive a smart race. It's important to get to the end. It's important to have a car that you're confident in. So I'm sure, you know, those things must attribute to it since I tend to come here and be in contention.
So, yeah, I guess it is a pretty darn lucky situation to have a style that accommodates such a grand place as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As I got here the first day, I was looking, I had to do something down on pit lane, I'm riding a golf cart down to do this thing, I'm looking at the windows. It says, The greatest racecourse in the world. I'm like, Yes, it is.