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Danica Says Wreck Was A Real Eye-Opener

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 24 2012

Danica Patrick and her team huddle before taking to the track for Thursday's Gatorade Duel in Daytona. The next stop for Patrick was the infield care center. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The hot breaking news out of Daytona International Speedway on the Friday morning after the Gatorade Duels is that Danica Patrick did not cover her eyes just before she slammed into the wall off Turn 2 in her Duel.

Patrick did allow that she closed her eyes just before impact, and she did take her hands off the steering wheel, as she was trained to do back in Indy Car racing. She said her hands may have been up a bit, but she definitely wasn’t covering her eyes.

She defended her choice of letting go of the wheel, saying said she didn’t see any point in keeping her hands near parts like a steering wheel that are sure to move about violently upon impact.

Her strategies appear to have been successful. She looked fit and ready to go, and said she wasn’t sore from the impact, which destroyed her car and will put her in a back-up for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“Everything feels pretty good,” she said.

Patrick, who said she prefers to focus on the positive no matter the situation, said that in some ways she’s glad to have her first big Sprint Cup crash behind her, just as she got that out of the way in Indy Car by crashing in her debut there back at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

She said she was confident heading into the Daytona 500, although there are parts of racing in the draft at Daytona, like the effects of the side draft, that she could stand to learn more about.

Still, she said she ran her Duel with “no death grip” on the steering wheel.

“I in general felt very comfortable,” she said. “I feel more ready for Sunday.”

She also sounded like a NASCAR veteran when answering a question with a phrase all too familiar to those who follow the sport.

Asked about the pack racing and wrecking at Daytona, she said: “It is what it is.”

Patrick’s meeting with the media on Thursday, like lots of other similar sessions in the past, saw questions about everything Danica, from her strong handshake to her Twitter activity.

Throughout, she maintained the big smile, the confident demeanor and showed courtesy to the questioners, even pointing out how nice it was for one to thank her for the answer even before she delivered it.

It seems that she really enjoys being Danica and having every move closely watched by fans and media alike.

“What’s not to like?” she said.

– Rick Minter can be reached at rminter@racintoday.com

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 24 2012
One Comment

One Comment »

  • Joe pope says:

    Well I can see why she held her hands up!!! I’m from Indianapolis IN and I have watched the 500bed since I could remember! I have always herd that upon impact you should turn loose of the wheel so you don’t break your wrist or hands. So all I really have to say is who ever said she was covering her eyes bla bla bla she is a true race car driver & here in INDY we love her….