Indy Notes: Bad Day For Danica

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 22 2010

Danica Patrick was not happy with her car on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Indianapolis – The racing world has seen a charming Danica Patrick, and an angry Patrick and a joyous Patrick. Saturday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the racing world got to see a shaken Patrick.

Such is the effect of having a horribly handling race car at 225 mph.

“I was shaking for minutes,” Patrick said after climbing out of her Andretti Autosports car following her qualifying run.

The problem has been a loose car. Really loose. So loose that after she saw teammate and former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Tony Kanaan spin and crash during his qualifying run, Patrick said she was not a bit surprised.

“We’ve been loose all month,” Patrick said. “It’s just not there. We trim it out and it gets worse. Our car is just totally skating across the track. This is disappointing. None of us are OK with this.”

Not the car, she said. It’s the setup.

From pit lane, she said during an interview which was broadcast over the public address system at the track, “I wasn’t flat out the last two laps and I was scared to death flat on the first two. I’ve never been bad here before. I’ve never been outside the top 10 on a finish or qualifying, so, it’s not my fault. The car is not good.”

Apparently Patrick’s explanation did not set well with the large Pole Day crowd. Her word provoked a cascade of boos from the front stretch grandstands.

That left her shaken as well.

“It blows me away,” she said, shaking her head and remarking that it was the same fan base who used to cheer her every move.

Patrick will start next Sunday’s race in the middle of the eighth row.

She said she expects, “A lot of buffeting, a lot of moving around” when she starts that far back.

Tempting offer: Dario Franchitti was still attempting to recover from a long, exhausting afternoon of qualifying when he was asked his opinion about offering a $20 million bonus to any driver who could win the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

“I got mixed feelings about it. It’s a great deal of money, no doubt,” Franchitti, who has raced both Indycars and NASCAR cars. “It would be very tough. For guys in Cup to come up here and get two weeks of testing, the top guys would get reasonably close. It’s that next (little bit, he said holding his thumb and finger about a half inch apart). It’s that tightrope we have been talking about.”

Women on track: Three female drivers earned entry to this year’s 500 on Saturday and two more could make it in on Sunday.

Five females in the field would be a record. It would also do serious damage to women drivers’ status as curiosity items.

The fact is, Penske Racing driver Ryan Briscoe said, women have become an accepted part of the IndyCar Series.

“I think so, for sure,” Briscoe said when asked if having women in the fields has become a non-issue. “They’re all doing such a great job. I think it’s great. It opens up the sport to so many more drivers.”

In the field as a result of being among the 24 fastest on Pole Day are Ana Beatriz (qualified 21st), Simona DeSilvestro (22nd) and Danica Patrick (23rd).

Still hoping to qualify on Bump Day Sunday are Sarah Fisher and Milka Dunno.

Hot time: As so often happens at Indy, weather conditions played a big role on Saturday.

High winds made the going tricky and may have played a part in a couple of early-day crashes. Two of those crashes – including Kanaan’s – occurred near Turn Two.

“I think the problem is the tail wind going into (Turn) Two,” Justin Wilson, who was not one of the crashers, said.

Then there was the heat. The sun came out and the temperatures creeped up into the 80s for the first time this week.

Several drivers said that was tough on their efforts.

“That’s Indianapolis,” Dan Wheldon said. “You’ve got to be on top of your game and cover all your bases. That’s all part of it.”

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 22 2010


  • Leon says:

    Forget Danica Patrick…She reminds me of the spoiled rich chicks at the country club I worked at when I was a kid….I used to take pleasure in spitting in there food when I was the cook….Remember the scene in “War Of The Roses” where Michael Douglas pisses in the fish….I invented that…She would be better off barefoot and pregnant and baking sugar cookies in Savannah like Paula Dean……

  • DICK KILLEEN says:

    I’ve followed the Indy 500 for more than 50 years. Good drivers good cars come and go and professional behavior is a varied and questionable issue. Saying what you feel and think is OK, but it should be done with some respect for those involved (the crew, the owner, the sponsors) she needs them they don’t need her, she’s just not that good. A childish temper display is acceptable if you’re 10 YO, but not for adult professionals in a tough sport. Her piece of the action and the cost of getting that car into the race is monumental. Ms. Patrick should keep in mind who put here where she’s at.

  • Tman2010 says:

    You’re a Blessed Chosen Special Lady with a Rare Talent, you just drove a car over 200 mph. Your problems are real and present, FOCUS on the problems, Ask Jesus to reveal what the answer is. You’ve been placed in That position for a purpose. It’s Time to Shine. Refine your BEST, complaining is the Dross from the Furnace of Affliction, bring Home the Gold, but give Jesus the Praise and Honor when you’re standing in the Victory Circle with the Prize. You’re Above this, Show the world your Faith in your Team and Talent. Don’t you dare retreat in defeat, You’re In The Game. Not many can Do what You Do Best, WIN ! WIN ! WIN !

    I have 50 flavors of BEEF JERKY for your sponsoring with Go Daddy when you need support. xfrmn2004@yahoo.com

  • mitch says:

    she sounds like just another woman in a position of power as I see it. women in general seem they have a pass to bitch all they want just because they have a problem with mother nature once a month…

  • Adam W says:

    She wins (in Japan) = she takes the credit
    She looses (everywhere else) = she blames her team

    A very poor sportsman all-around…

    You should never ridicule your team in front of the opponents or in front of the fans.

  • Ric E says:

    What’s the big deal? Why make more of it? She’s interviewed as she exits the car and spoke of how she felt that instant. Do the rest of us have perfect composure and pre-thought comments and answers to questions in a stressfull situation?

  • Steven J says:

    I’ve been a faithful Danica fan since her rookie year, however, this remark disappoints me. For the first time (that I’m aware of) Danica seems to have separated herself from her TEAM, and that is never good.

  • josh says:

    i have no problem with female drivers. i just want to see one worth a damn out there. patrick has shown me nothing but excuses, acceptence of her poor showings, without feeling she let her team down,and oh yeah, a go daddy dot com commerical.real classy, danica. talk about putting female drivers in a novelty category. by the way, wasnt dave letterman one of her early team owners?

  • G GRIFFFIN says:

    U got to be kidding me??????i have been racing for over 20yrs..i have heard more men wine over things at the track,and other things containing with racing then she ever could.She has one bad day and u the fans want to jump on her..hippycrittes.thats racing..untill you have done it for a living back off!!!!!!!she has more tallent then most men in racing and does less bi$#@h about it! your a team they have to know whats wrong..and doesnt matter where or when u tell them as long as there listening..they all know that..i hear the same thing every week on nascecar!!..keep up the good work danica..some people dont know real talent when thy see it!!!!!!!! your friend G Griifn.

  • Ed says:

    She is hott. Who cares what she said.

  • milford says:

    go figure, a typical spolied rich girl , throwing a tantrum hopping the daddy will come to her rescue with a shiney new ride…give me a break..she blows!

    • josh says:

      more like Go Daddy (.com) but hey, why do you think shes there? there are 2 dozen other female drivers in the country better than her, but they have fallen out of the ugly tree so they dont get the press.

    • tokindaddy says:

      I couldn’t agree more!

  • […] Indy Notes: Bad Day For Danica RacinToday.com – May 22nd – 17:49 […]

  • Keep up the good work, Danica. Keep your standards high. It is perfectly fine to tell people where they need improvement, especially when you are the one racing over 200mph, not them. Great job!

  • […] So frustrated that she threw her crew under the bus. "This is the worst car I’ve ever had," she said, according to USA Today’s Nate Ryan on Twitter. "There’s no stability or grip. It’s just scary, really scary … It’s awful, really awful. I think I’m still shaking." And when her comments were played over the track PA, she was booed. […]

  • […] So frustrated that she threw her crew under the bus. "This is the worst car I’ve ever had," she said, according to USA Today’s Nate Ryan on Twitter. "There’s no stability or grip. It’s just scary, really scary … It’s awful, really awful. I think I’m still shaking." And when her comments were played over the track PA, she was booed. […]

  • Charley Boswell says:

    KEEP IN mind that you are the best over the amenture small minded people that are armchair qualifyed will never drive a car like you…….Speak your mind no matter what……GO FOR IT….

  • B Beverley says:

    Keep up the good work Danica maybe you should leave Indy Car and race in NASCAR only. I wish you good luck Danica in your up coming RACE !!!

  • B Beverley says:

    How else is she suppose to react so her crew can do a better job so she can maybe bring home a First place Finish. Or at least a top 5 finish at the end of the race. She is a driver an puts her very life on the line every time she sits in a race car. She should speak up when the car is not safe to drive for any driver to drive. I give her credit for speaking up when the car is not safe to drive.

    • Tim says:

      I agree. And I understand this was an ongoing problem with her and her teammates. Also, her crew is includes professionals who are capable of handling what may be deserved and judicious public criticism. I would guess that crew members would like working with a driver who is not afraid to push them, even if it’s done publicly.

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