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Indy Racing League Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indy Racing League

Indy Racing League Media Conference

Jaime Camara
Danica Patrick
June 7, 2005


TIM HARMS: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to this week's Indy Racing League teleconference. We'll have two guests joining us this afternoon: Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Jaime Camara, who is with us now; and IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick will join us in a few minutes. Good afternoon, Jaime.

JAIME CAMARA: Hello.

TIM HARMS: Jaime is a rookie in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. After winning the Futaba Freedom 100 at Indianapolis on May 27th, Jaime is currently third in the series points standings as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 100 this Saturday, June 11th. First of all, congratulations again on winning the Freedom 100. Tell us a little bit about the race. It was obviously very competitive with seven lead changes, especially between you and Wade Cunningham. Give us a little recap on that.

JAIME CAMARA: Yeah, the race was really good. I was really surprised when the race started and Wade could pass me on the first lap because I didn't expect that. But I didn't start very good, so that's all right. When the race restarted, due to the rain, I knew I had a good car and I could pass him again. When I did that, what I tried to do is focus on a very good line and try to open a gap. But then Jon Herb came. He was very fast. He passed me, I passed him. We did that for, I don't know, two or three laps. Then Wade came back and we were fighting for the lead all the race until the 37th lap when the last yellow came.

TIM HARMS: Then you had that last restart. Obviously as the leader of a race, whenever there's a restart, you have that advantage. What kind of strategy do you take as you go into that restart zone? What was your strategy in that situation? Were you looking to go as soon as you could or hold off to near the end? What kind of strategy did you take there?

JAIME CAMARA: I tried to restart early. You know, on the restart point, I tried to restart as soon as possible because I would be better on turn four if I do that. I think that worked, you know, because I could open a little gap and I could win the race on the last restart.

Q. You had a lot of family in town for the race and some sponsors that came up from Brazil. Really had to be a dream scenario to win in front of all those folks.

JAIME CAMARA: Yeah, it was very good because my family and my sponsors were here. So it couldn't be better. I mean, my first win on the series, in Indianapolis, with everybody here. It was very good.

TIM HARMS: I assume they've all gone back to Brazil. Are they coming up for any more races?

JAIME CAMARA: Yeah, I think they will come for the last race of the season in California.

TIM HARMS: Let's take a look up ahead. We have the race at Texas this coming weekend. All year and even last year the Sam Schmidt team has been the team to beat. Last year the team qualified and finished 1 and 2 in the race. What are your expectations as you head to that track for the first time?

JAIME CAMARA: I'm looking forward to Texas because I think it's the most fun track of the whole year. The bank is a 24-degrees bank. I really want to drive there. I got to wait for the race. I don't know the track yet. I don't know the best line to do. I think the first practice will tell if we're going to be competitive or not. But I think we have a good car. We're doing a great job.

TIM HARMS: You come back from Texas, we come back here to Indianapolis to race on the road course, the only series that runs on the oval and road course at Indianapolis. It's going to be the second road course of the season for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. What do you expect as you head back to Indianapolis in a couple weeks?

JAIME CAMARA: Pressure again (laughter). It's going to be tough. The race is going to be really tough. It's going to be different because there's more drivers that are competitive on the road course. They will do their best to win there. I'll do my best to win there because if I do, that's going to be really good win, two times in one year, the same year. But it's going to be very competitive. If I can do a good job there, it's going to be perfect.

TIM HARMS: We've had four winners so far in four races this year. Does anybody have an inside track on the championship at this point?

JAIME CAMARA: What do you mean by "inside track"?

TIM HARMS: An edge on anybody else.

JAIME CAMARA: I'm not sure. I don't think so. It's too early. But I think after Milwaukee on July 24 there will be like seven races. I think we will see who has chances to fight for the championship.

TIM HARMS: Let's go ahead and take some questions for Jaime.

Q. Do you think maybe being from Brazil you have an advantage over other drivers in tolerating the heat during the races?

JAIME CAMARA: No, I don't think so. I mean, every driver is well-prepared to drive on the heat, the conditions of the track and the car and the weather. But we got to be very concerned about our - how do I say?

Q. Hydration, drinking fluids?

JAIME CAMARA: Yeah. We got to drink a lot of water and we got to be very well-prepared. But I think every driver does a very good fitness program.

Q. Before you came to the United States to test for this Menards Infiniti Pro Series ride, had you ever been on an oval before? If not, what has been the most difficult thing to adapt to?

JAIME CAMARA: No, it was my first time on the oval. And the speed was an issue in the first test. I was very surprised that the speed was so high, and I didn't expect that. But after the morning session, I was pretty comfortable with the car. The first time I tested was last October in Kentucky. The afternoon session was very good. I was comfortable with the car. The speed was not a problem any more. I was just finding a good line to do a very good lap.

Q. That's how you got the ride, I assume?

JAIME CAMARA: Yes, yes. That was when we start talking about the 2005 season.

Q. What has been the biggest adjustment in your driving style working on an oval?

JAIME CAMARA: I think it's different, it's very different, the road course to the oval. You got to be very quiet on the oval. You got to turn the steering wheel just a little to do the turns to get more speed. On the road course, you're more aggressive with the car because you've got to turn the car around. You've got to be aggressive with the car. So it's very different.

Q. So it's more mental then for you?

JAIME CAMARA: I'm sorry?

Q. It's more mental?

JAIME CAMARA: Yeah, it's kind of more focus, you know, on the oval.

TIM HARMS: You've gotten to know Sam Schmidt obviously this year competing for him. What's he like to work with? How has it been working with Sam so far this year?

JAIME CAMARA: Very good team. Sam teaches me a lot, you know. Sometimes I'm a little nervous at the track before qualifying or a race, and we talk a lot about what to do. He gives me like -- he talks me and I get more confidence in myself, you know. He's teaching me a lot of oval things that I don't know, like lines and what to do in the traffic. He knows a lot of things, and it's helping a lot.

TIM HARMS: We thank you for taking some time to join us this afternoon.

JAIME CAMARA: No problem.

TIM HARMS: Good luck at Texas.

JAIME CAMARA: Thank you.

TIM HARMS: I would like to welcome IndyCar Series rookie Danica Patrick. Danica drivers the No. 16 Panos/Honda for Rahal Letterman Racing and is coming off back-to-back fourth-place finishes, including obviously the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th at Indianapolis. She started fourth and led 19 laps. Currently she's ninth in the point standings, which is the highest rookie in the field. Danica, congratulations again on a great month of May and thanks for joining us. There's been quite a bit of demand for your time obviously in the weeks leading up to the Indianapolis 500. Obviously, it's increased tremendously since then. Have you been able to unwind a little bit and just start focusing on the rest of the season yet?

DANICA PATRICK: They're probably not linked together. Unwind, no. Focus on the rest of the season, yes. It's what I have to do. It's what my job is. So I don't think I'll really unwind probably until the season's over because for me the important part is the racing. So, you know, I get wound up for that.

TIM HARMS: Absolutely. And obviously when we talk about racing, Texas historically is one of the best places to go, featuring three-wide racing, very close finishes. Both of last year's races had finishes closer than 4/10ths of a second. It's going to be your first race there, also a night race, which is different from a lot of the races we do. What are you anticipating from this coming weekend?

DANICA PATRICK: The same kind of results, you know, competitiveness that we've had in the last couple races especially, and in the whole season really. That's, you know, always trying to be faster and always trying to, you know, keep an eye on what my teammates are doing, as usual, and running with them. Hopefully we have good cars, good setups, and everything goes well, we run in the front, we go for poles, we lead laps, and we just hope we're leading the last one.

TIM HARMS: Great. Let's go ahead and take some questions for Danica.

Q. So much has been said about you over the last few weeks, but what do you consider your biggest skills and your best skills as a race car driver? If you had to list them physically or mentally, what is it that makes you a good race car driver more than anything else?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think that, you know, my strong points are definitely I'd have to say the race conditions and feeling my car and trusting in my car, feeling its limitations, making decisive moves, not, you know, things that put me into trouble or crash or just passing attempts that don't happen. I think that, you know, my weaknesses are just going to be making sure that I'm comfortable and ready for all the different things that happen in race conditions, everything from starts to pit stops to everything. There's so many more situations that happen in races now that they're a couple hours long as opposed to 50 minutes. Just kind of getting comfortable and ready for all that.

Q. People have told me, Lyn St. James, Johnny Rutherford, that you have amazing reflexes, that your hand-eye coordination is very good, even in comparison to a lot of the best drivers. Is that something you've been told over the years?

DANICA PATRICK: I think that, you know, it's something that all drivers have as an ability, good reflexes. I think that's just a characteristic of us. As far as myself, I hope it's better than everyone else's. Every driver hopes that their qualities are better than the rest of them because that means you go faster and you make better decisions. But, you know, it's very flattering when such legends say nice things like that.

Q. With your recent success and your youth, there's been some wild speculation about the idea that F1 or NASCAR might come calling. Do you see the IRL as a destination or a steppingstone to something bigger?

DANICA PATRICK: That's difficult to say at this point. I can't tell you how happy I am where I am. I enjoy so much more than just the actual racing of IndyCars and IRL, but I enjoy the schedule, I enjoy being near my friends and family all the time, having them to be able to be with me. You know, there's a lot of things that go into it. The IRL provides the grounds for all of that.

Q. Talking about Indy a little bit, the fact that you made a couple of what I guess people characterize as rookie mistakes. In the aftermath of that, looking back on it now, do you feel that was a good learning experience? Is it something that you would do differently in the future? How do you look at those mistakes that you made there?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, in an ideal world you don't make any mistakes. So, yeah, I'm going to try all the time and get better all the time, I would imagine, just with experience and not making any mistakes. I was fortunate enough that one of them played into my hands pretty well. But definitely stalling the engine wasn't something I wanted to do. But you live and learn. You know, I'm not going to say in five races or at the end of the year I'm never going to do it again. It could very well happen again. It's just minimizing and not doing it as much. Yeah, in an ideal world you don't make any.

Q. I'm sure you've read or heard some of the discussion that's been going on about your supposed weight advantage. I'm wondering what your take is on that and whether you feel like, indeed, you do have an advantage or not?

DANICA PATRICK: You know, in racing it's all about balance and everything. I don't think it plays that huge of a role. You know, I keep saying. But my engineers told me Buddy won last year with pretty much the heaviest car in the field. So I don't think it has that much to do with it.

Q. All series except the IRL do account for weight differences among the drivers.

DANICA PATRICK: I can't control what size I am and how I'm built. All I know is the NBA doesn't lower the hoop for short guys.

Q. Looking ahead to Richmond, what are you expecting there at that track? There seems to be a consensus that next to Indianapolis that might be the most physically demanding on the circuit. Have you been on an oval so short in your racing career before?

DANICA PATRICK: At Texas?

Q. Richmond.

DANICA PATRICK: Sorry. Yeah, no, you know, Indy really is not that physical of a track. It's more of a mental one. I haven't raced there before, but I would put all the short ovals in the category of, you know, put Phoenix in that one, I've heard they're very physical, especially Richmond. I'm pumping my iron.

Q. What sort of fitness regime do you adhere to? The media guide seems to say you do a lot every week. How often do you work out?

DANICA PATRICK: Every day from one to two hours I usually do. Every other day I do weights. Every day I do cardio. Every day I do about an hour of cardio. Every other day I do another additional hour of weights. So pretty much every day.

Q. Is that a reason you feel like you've kind of been able to compete with these guys, is your stamina measures up to them despite your size?

DANICA PATRICK: I think that your stamina's very important, and that isn't all muscle, that's your mental stamina, your cardiovascular, you know, everything that keeps you calm. I highly doubt the biggest guy in the world could drive a car better than me just because he has muscles. You have to have so many different things, too. I think the key is to be able to stay relaxed. I remember Jimmy Vasser telling me one time, "These guys get so tired, they're gripping the wheel too hard. You just got to relax." I remember that.

Q. Richmond is going to be the first short track, short oval you've attempted before in your career, less than a mile?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, you know, is it less than a mile, Richmond?

Q. It's three-quarters of a mile.

DANICA PATRICK: I've been on them before, but, yeah, this will be my first race on a shorter oval, unless you can count the velodrome in Indianapolis when I raced go-karts at 12 years old.

Q. You and Bob had modest goals beginning of the year, Homestead was just to finish the race, I'm sure going into Indy was Rookie-of-the-Year, then you almost win the race. You were pretty disappointed about not winning. In retrospect, do you look at that as a half empty glass or half full? Were you prepared to be thrust into the national spotlight by that performance?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think that going into the month and having our expectations slowly raised is what makes us as a team and me as a driver good and what makes us keep on accelerating and going further and faster. You can't set your goals too low or how do you pass them? So you have to kind of keep up with what's going on, and that's what we did. We kept our goals realistic, we always did. It just so happened the realistic turned out to be pretty good. You know, then as far as the spotlight part of it, you know, I always kind of had a feeling that good things and big things would happen, you know, if I performed well. And that's just it, so long as I perform well, I am different, and it's going to cause a stir. You know, I just hope that I keep doing that. For me, I don't really think about the female part of it. But as long as you guys do, you can keep writing the stories (laughter).

Q. I just said "national spotlight." I've talked to you as a race driver for four years (laughter).

DANICA PATRICK: But it is partly -- you know, a lot of it is because I am a female, and I do recognize that. I'm not silly enough to think that, "Oh, I'm a driver and I'm going fast." I didn't win the race, you know. But things are going well. I am breaking certain records. It just so happens that en route to breaking male records, I'm going to break the female ones. It's a story and it's good. It's good for everybody. I've been working very hard to make sure that the attention was focused on Indianapolis this month, and I think we did a good job. My focus is solely on doing well.

Q. What have you found most surprising about your newfound fame?

DANICA PATRICK: Goodness, that's a good question. Well, the rich get richer. People want to give you things (laughter). I think that, you know, I don't -- I think for me the best part of it is not necessarily materialistic, it's receiving compliments from such legends and such people that I would have never thought to be compared to, compliments from people like Unser, Rutherford, Andretti, Rahal. That's, you know, really flattering. That to me means more than anything. So that's the best thing that's come from everything so far.

Q. Tell me how you balance the media and the fan attention with focus on each upcoming race.

DANICA PATRICK: I think over the years I've found what makes me feel the most comfortable, which is what makes me perform my best, what I need to do. So, therefore, I make sure that the schedule allows for all those different things, the time to relax, the time to eat my breakfast in the morning, the time to do all these different things that I feel are important to my schedule. It's pretty much as easy as that really. There's give and take, though. There's times where, "I don't want to do this, I need to be here." But you have to take into account what's happening and how much good can come from attention and from media.

Q. With that schedule, with the things you do to prepare for a race, do you have any prerace rituals or superstitions?

DANICA PATRICK: Not in particular. I'm really doing my very best to make sure that I don't have too many of them or all of a sudden I'll have a three-hour program that revolves around everything I need to do before a race. What if I lose my lucky pair of socks? All of a sudden I'm going to have a bad day every day. I do my best to make sure I don't have many. But there's simple things for me, like getting in the left side of my car. I think every driver does that. For me, I love to take an hour to relax in the morning when I get up. I like to eat breakfast and drink two to three cups of coffee, make sure I'm ready for my day. You know, little things like that.

Q. Is there a process that a young driver goes through? I know you've been racing for a number of years, but is there a process that a young driver goes through until the mind accepts going 227 miles an hour three or four cars wide is something that you do without the mind reflexively asking, "What's going on here?"

DANICA PATRICK: I'm not sure if I understand exactly, but I do know -- it's kind of striking some key words in my mind of, you know, when you stop too long to think about just anything you're doing, when it's inside the car, it's distracting. You have to let it all flow naturally, you have to just keep your mind as clear as possible. In most situations when you have a good race going and when you're very focused, you can't actually remember a lot of stuff. There's a lot of stuff from the race that I don't remember exactly. And I think it just -- you know, everything becomes such instinct and such reflexes that you don't really have time to think. And that's what makes a good driver, is when they don't need to.

Q. With every race being a learning experience, what did you learn from your experience at Indy?

DANICA PATRICK: I learned how, you know, patience can be beneficial. I learned how mistakes can be very detrimental. But in results, staying calm in all situations is powerful. You do have to stay calm and you have to take everything as it comes, take a deep breath.

Q. I spent some time at the bowling alley where you're going to be tomorrow night signing autographs, talking to young women. What has it been like being referred to as a role model?

DANICA PATRICK: It's a question I've been asked a lot about. I really -- I'm not actively trying to do anything, I have to say in all honesty. But I think that as it's coming now, I think more about it. I'm making sure my values stay the same and my choices stay smart and stay good. You have to make sure that at all times you're being seen as you want to be seen with, you know, the way you answer a question or what kind of sponsor you endorse or anything like that. It's brought it to my attention just as much as I've been brought to other's attention. But I think I'm so early in my career that I never really thought I would be a role model this early, so it kind of caught me off guard as well. I think it says a lot about how I've been brought up and what my values have been and how they've stayed good, how my parents raised me. I think it's very flattering that just being myself is enough to be a role model.

Q. You were asked earlier about prerace rituals. What is your favorite pregame meal, if you have one?

DANICA PATRICK: Oh, I don't know. It depends if I'm having breakfast and I'm going out on the track or if I'm going to have lunch. It's always changing. My fiance is a physical therapist. He's certified in so many areas. I'm like, "Honey, what do I eat today?" Races like Indy where you're in the car for like three hours or four hours, you know, you got to eat a lot of little meals. I don't know, it's always different. I don't necessarily have a favorite. But I like oatmeal and I like eggs.

Q. When you first became involved in this sport, what time did you finally realize, "I've got a future in this, I really like this, I feel comfortable behind a wheel, this is not just a hobby any more"? When did that happen in your maturation as a driver?

DANICA PATRICK: Probably about 13 when I started having dreams of being an engineer when I went to college, going for engineering so I could work on my car. All my thoughts started revolving around being a race car driver. I'd say it was that young.

Q. What were you driving at 13?

DANICA PATRICK: Go-karts.

Q. How did you get involved in this sport? Was this something from your father?

DANICA PATRICK: My father used to race snowmobiles, midgets, motorcross. We used to always go to these midget races on Sunday night about an hour from our house. My sister was very interested in it, and I was hanging out, tagging along. You know, I had a good time, too. We were just sitting in the stands, get hit with the mud. It was great. My sister wanted to race go-karts, so we did. I just said, "I'll try it, too."

Q. As you're going through this, obviously this is a male-dominated sport, what kind of resistance, if any, have you felt from boys when you were 13 or later on from men being a woman in a male-dominated field?

DANICA PATRICK: When I was young, boys were all scared of me. I didn't feel any then. As soon as they turned like 16, 17, 18, all of a sudden they, I don't know, grew these big egos, I don't know. I wasn't part of the kids club any more. I wasn't part of the boys club. I was an outsider more so. It became more real. I don't know if I got made fun of or what. I think once they got to about that age, it was more difficult. I just felt more resistance. It wasn't that big of a deal. I mean, I'd been racing with the same people for a long time. But that's also the point in time I went to England and everything. So I think that, you know, after that, I had to gain some -- I had to gain everyone's respect and show them that I'm here and I'm not just a go-kart driver, I'm going to be a race car driver. So you have to put in the time, you have to put in the effort and, you know, hope the best comes from it and hope you get all the way.

Q. When you felt that resistance, how did you react to it? How did you cope with it when you felt the eyes, the looks or the finger pointing?

DANICA PATRICK: Most of the time the eyes and the finger pointing came because, "That's the girl driver," most of the time, or, "She's the fast girl driver." You know, that's been going on forever. I think it was more or less the boys that hang out with the boys a lot more often and wouldn't include me. That's what I felt more than anything, not necessarily, "I'm going to hit you and take you off the track," something like that. It was just more we didn't have -- boys didn't want to do the same thing or they didn't want girls in their group. Maybe it was more of a social thing.

Q. Plus maybe you were beating them, too.

DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, that could have been part of it.

Q. Do you think women in general are going to be completely accepted in male-dominated sport at this high level? Is that something you think may have happened already?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think that is going to be slightly individual based. Is so-and-so accepted? Do we respect this person? It's not necessarily women in general because, you know, not all men in general are good either. So, you know, it goes both ways.

Q. If your success in the IRL continues, do you think it will be a catalyst to bring more and more fans out?

DANICA PATRICK: I do believe it could help. It's a start. You've got to start somewhere and you have to imagine it's going to help. It definitely helped at Indy. All I know is I've been telling everyone that's watched the race for the very first time, "Okay, now the racing is pretty much the same every single weekend. So what you saw there is what you're going to see again and again and again." Most of the time a lot of the people that come to Indy, not all of them, but a lot of them are more filling the field than anything. The top drivers are always there. I told everyone, "Hey, Texas is next Saturday night. You know, check it out."

Q. From the beginning of the season you were this young upstart, "Who is she," now have you columnists and a lot of noted people saying you may be the savior for the IRL and open-wheel racing coming off of Indy. What has that transition been like for you mentally? Is there now a feeling of responsibility that you didn't have two months ago?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, I feel like it's my job as a driver in the series to promote it, to make sure that we all have sponsors for a long time, we all have jobs for a long time, and that the series keeps getting bigger because everybody wins when that happens. The series hopefully makes more money, the drivers do, the sponsorship gets bigger. It's not just for me. So I feel like if I can help, I will. I think that everybody should do that.

Q. It's gone from May to where now people are looking forward to your first victory. I hate to say it, but like anything short of really big-time may not be good enough. The flipside is you still are a rookie, going to Texas for the first time. How are you couching all of those expectations?

DANICA PATRICK: You know what, I mean, to this point as a driver and what we've done as a team, it's been earned, it's been earned in the hard work that we've done. I feel grateful that I'm in a position that people will talk about winning because that's what we're trying for. There's going to be good and bad races for the rest of the season. We weren't the hottest cars on the track at St. Petersburg. Who knows if we'll be fast at all the rest of the road courses. We're definitely good on the big ovals. We struggled at Phoenix as a team. It must be kept in perspective how everything is going within the team and how everything goes for rookies. If you're put into a situation at a track that's so very different and demands a lot of experience to perform well, then I might not, but I might. That's what we're trying for. We're always trying to be better -- we're always trying to do better all the time. All I can do is hope and pray that we do.

Q. How do you get ready for a night race at Texas, something you've never done? Do you watch video? What is your routine about preparing for that, other than signing autographs at the bowling alley?

DANICA PATRICK: It's definitely going to start with signing autographs at the bowling alley. I'll talk to Buddy and Vitor and the team to make sure I have all those questions filled in that I'm curious about. But as far as I know, as far as it being at night, it shouldn't be much different. It's just the fact that, you know, I mean, if you have, you know, zero energy at 7:00 at night, you better drink some coffee. But, you know, as far as the actual driving of it, it's like daylight out there. It just kind of looks cool from TV, I guess. I don't know. I'm just going to have to learn. That's when this year is. I'm not going to know anything, by all means. I'm just going to have to learn.

Q. Have you always considered yourself a fast learner?

DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, I do. You know, I do. I think initially I catch on pretty quick. I think that the last little bit you can get out to be consistently up in the front is something that you must learn over time. You have to really know your car and you have to know as a driver what you need to go fast. But as far as initially getting the speed out of it, I feel like, yeah, I can feel a car pretty well and I can feel the limits of it pretty well. So I'd say I guess I do okay.

Q. What impressed you most, making the cover of Sports Illustrated when you didn't win the race or the fact that the TV ratings were up 56% for the Indianapolis 500?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, since the month of May was -- I don't know how much I did to, you know, media-wise to get the ratings to go higher and get people interested in it. I could imagine that the ratings would go up. They went up a lot more than I thought. But I didn't read all the articles, so there was obviously a lot more articles than I knew about. I think that the cover of Sports Illustrated is something that will be, you know, I mean for a lot of people, it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I hope that I can do such great things that it puts me on there again. But I am so very flattered to be on the cover. I know I didn't win the race, but there were so many things that came from Indy, you know, in response to the amount of the increase in ratings, just all the different things, being a rookie, being female, to leading laps, to going for pole positions. I mean, I've led and gone for pole in the last two races. So I think that there was so much more than just the actual results of the race, there was a lot leading up to it. But I'm most probably surprised about the cover.

Q. You've seemingly been everywhere since the 500. Is it leaving you enough time to work with your team and be with your team in order to further your improvement as a driver?

DANICA PATRICK: I think that when I'm away from the track, I talk to my team a little bit, but it's not like we have hour-long dialogues every day on what we need to do next. For me, I need to get away and I need to forget about things, I need to relax, I need to do the things that I need to properly train, I need to take care of myself. I think more than anything, it takes away from that. I will always make sure there's enough time to talk to my team and do what's necessary to go faster.

Q. Can you talk about the particular challenges of a road course and the demands you anticipate?

DANICA PATRICK: We obviously have to make sure that the car is fast. But I think it's going to be a very difficult track. It's a very physical track. All the established circuits are, all the existing ones are physical because of the grip levels. I don't think it's anything that we are not unaware of. We know as a team we have a lot of work to do. It's going to be a tough weekend, but we're going to do it and we're going to do well, I hope.

TIM HARMS: Danica, thanks a lot for taking time to join us. We know you've been very pressured with a lot of requests recently. We appreciate that.

DANICA PATRICK: Thank you.

TIM HARMS: Good luck in Texas.

DANICA PATRICK: Thank you.

TIM HARMS: Thanks for joining us on the call. We realize there were several of you on the line with questions. We apologize that we couldn't get to everyone this afternoon. There will be some opportunities obviously at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with Danica and then obviously as we go through the course of the season. You can always contact the Rahal Letterman team as well.



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