Danica Patrick planned to run the 2012 Indy 500 while racing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series – She elected not to as her focus on NASCAR came under question when she brought it up
Danica Patrick’s professional racing career began on the open wheel side of the spectrum before switching over to closed cockpit stock cars. Between 2005-2011, she ran 115 Indycar starts.
In 2010, she began driving for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In 2012, she was signed to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
In 2012, she intended to run the Indy 500. However, she elected not to as here NASCAR focus came into question.
“There’s been a lot of anticipation on this day for me,” Danica Patrick says of her return behind the wheel following the first day on track.
“Not only the years after I left and thinking about it. Cause, I really did try and do it the second year I’d been gone. Until a team manager said that people questioned my commitment in NASCAR. So, I didn’t do it.”
“I really did believe that I was never gonna do it again after that point in time. I was like, the further I get away from it, the more I don’t want to do it.”
“There was no wavering on the decision last year to do it. Once I thought of it, I was like, ‘Yes! Yes, that’s what I’m gonna do.’ ”
“It’s been since fall last year thinking about what the hell is it gonna feel like. So, now I know.”
Danica Patrick has brought a brand new car to Indianapolis. The chassis is fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing. New cars generally have a bug or two.
“There was a water temperature issue. There’s only 3 hours today. So, you burn an hour pretty quickly.”
“The next ran was just too slow. It wasn’t above 210. It just felt very hard to drive. The weight of the wheel was very heavy for me. I don’t know what the heck I’ve been doing. I feel a lot stronger since the last time I was here. I CrossFit like crazy.”
The team took out aero on the front end to lighten the wheel up for Danica Patrick toward the end of the 3 hour session.
“There was a little bit of understeer out there. I was gonna say tight. There was definitely a little too much understeer to go really really fast.”
“I thought I was able to really feel the grip level of the car, especially on the front. I was able to really feel the front sliding. That’s good for me.”
Today, Danica Patrick is back on the track. 12 drivers will run the manufacture test for both Chevrolet and Honda.
Danica Patrick is now set to run her final race of her professional racing career. She’s doing it as she returns to her roots. The 102nd running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” airs on May 27th at 11 a.m. ET on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.