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IndyCar Series: AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300

IndyCar Series: AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300

Danica Patrick
August 14, 2005


SPARTA, KENTUCKY

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Danica Patrick here in the Bluegrass Hall. Danica Patrick, 16th in today's race, and Dan I can a, the last six races, three Top-10s and now three times outside the Top-10. You had a pretty decent start, you hung around in the Top-5 for a while and then ran into some problems. Do you want to describe your run today?

DANICA PATRICK: The balance was a little bit off for the first stint, but, you know, we made the car handle better in the pit stop by making a change, and we went back out there and the car was really balanced. It was great. Other than the random lifts, catching a bad set of cars that are blocking all of your wind, I was moving forward and the car was good. You know, just yellow flag came out and we were going down in the pits, and I put the pit speedometer on early and it was making the noise, it was on the perimeter, like brrrgg, and it was like 66 miles an hour, which that's not the speed, 60. I hit the brakes and when I hit the brakes, it just stalled and the wheels stops in the rear and the car thought it was done, so it shut off. Then when I went back out, something happened and I must have damaged the gears because fifth and sixth were gone, so we had to change gears back. There you go.

Q. Just describe the feelings, a little disappointment, obviously?

DANICA PATRICK: Disappointment, yeah, starting on the pole, you know, running up front and being racy and feeling like I was having the car come to me as the race went on. Then, you know, I mean, to have the fastest lap of the race, as well, and to be able to -- you know, it was very frustrating when I went back out after I got the gears back in. I was told I could not pass anyone, which if anybody watched it after they told me I could pass somebody, I passed all the way up to the lead pack and it's really frustrating when you can't, when you're not up there dicing with the leaders like I should have been. It's very disappointing. I feel bad, the team worked hard, they were great on the pit stops, and I'd love to get a win for Honda and Pioneer and Argent and Team Rahal, and myself.

Q. Is your race strategy to start and then to fall back and feel comfortable and start to move your way up as you learn the track?

DANICA PATRICK: No. Strategy is not to move back. But, you know, when you start unfolding, it's almost like going backwards; it's harder to stay up there. Whenever you're in the very front you're racing with the toughest of them because everybody deserves there be there for a reason. So, you know, I think that -- you know, I think that the car, it's a little bit less crisp than the other cars, and so we struggle, I do, anyway, on initial green flag. I'm sure there's something I could do for sure, just getting the tires warmed up properly and just learn to hang it out there. But I promise you, I did hang it out there. I was hanging it out there at Milwaukee, and at some points today, correcting it in the corner, and you have to run on the edge. But you also can't go past your comfort zone because that's when you finds yourself on the wall. It's those first two laps, just making sure that I don't do something stupid, because if you do have a good car, you know, you can pass them back. But you can never pass anyone if you're in the wall. You know, it's getting better. I mean, my last pole at Kansas, I went from like first to ninth, I think, or something on the start. So this one, I dropped back to third. You know, the one I dropped back, fourth, fifth, sixth, whatever after that, that was just because I didn't play fast enough. It wasn't because of the start. It was just the car was off on balance a little bit. Like I said, after I pitted that first time, made an adjustment and we went faster, a lot faster. The car was much more comfortable and predictable and consistent. It's just I'm extremely disappointed.

Q. Are you feeling some frustration after the success you had in Indianapolis, and now are you really striving for that win; or is this just going to be a learning season for you?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, you know, after a race like Indianapolis, to do what I did, what the team did there, it's a hard act to follow. It's a big one. It is our Super Bowl. So it's a big one. You know, we've had some success after that. We've had two poles; we've led at a bunch of tracks. You know, it's a matter of everything coming to the. I think other than Motegi and Indianapolis, this race is definitely extremely strong for me. I felt like I was running up front comfortably and definitely, you know, had a Top-6 in mind for the end for sure, which when I'm running against these guys that I'm running against, it's hard. They make it really hard, there's four guys and they have all won this year, and not to mention my teammates. You know, am I striving for that win? Heck, yeah. Oh, my gosh, I'm trying to win every single time. That's why I'm so disappointed. I had pole and fastest lap of the race. I should have been up there. Am I treating it like more of a learning year? I'm going to treat every year of my life like a learning year. I hope I keep learning the last year I race. But this one is going to be proportionately more than others. It's a matter of running as fast as I can while trying to win.

Q. Your problems a couple of cars experienced; is that something the track maybe caused or something that happened in the pits?

DANICA PATRICK: It's probably coincidence that it happened to other drivers, too. I don't think there's anything particular at this track that would contribute to extra gear box problems. You do shift a little bit here, but, you know, I think there was one part down the back straight before the pits, it was right before the pit stop which I slowed down and locked the rear up and stalled the engine. So it was right before that that I had a bad gear change and I didn't know what was going to happen. You know, I think it's just a mistake, just a leggy shift or certain electronic things that, you know, tell you when you can and can't shift due to how much throttle you have and all kind of things. You know, there's a lot that has to be going on. I might have been partially on the throttle and it just didn't want to come out of gear, and when it did, the gear box, for sure.

Q. Is it difficult to express your disappointment when people can't get to victory lane and you've been second quite a few times?

DANICA PATRICK: Hey, I finished second a few times. That's good, still. I mean you've got to be in position to win and I hand it to Vitor, he's a very strong racer and he's very strong. He's always tough to race side-by-side with, but always fair. So that's the description of a great driver is somebody who can, you know, who can race you fair, not stuff you and not give you room, but somebody that's run from the front and gives you space. So I respect him a lot. I would imagine that he shows frustration, too. He would love to win a race, just like all the rest of us. So, you know, in our own way, it's proportionate to the first and my disappointment today, you know, could very well be his disappointment, too. I definitely feel for him. He's a great driver.

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