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The world according to Danica

If you’re talking about IndyCar racing, you’re likely talking about Danica Patrick. This year is no different. So, what did Danica have to say before starting her fifth Indianapolis 500?

Kentucky Derby Horse Racing

Danica Patrick will compete in her fifth Indianapolis 500 on May 24. (AP photo)

Here’s some excerpts from Tuesday’s teleconference:

On qualifying…

Every year is challenging. But, I think you still have a lot of the leaders at the front of the field as you did four years ago. It’s always been pretty tough. Yeah, there are a lot more drivers, and I think there are going to be more knocking on that top-11 door maybe more so than before.

Hopefully we don’t have to worry about that and we get in that first day and we have a good qualifying run on the first one and it’s good enough to put us in the top 11 and in the front row.

On her confidence for Indy…

I’ve even had people at Kansas say, people close to me, fans are always encouraging, but people that really get a feeling for things. I think you might win this race.

Here we are at Indy. I have to tell you a funny story. I got a fortune cookie at the track. We went out to dinner in Kansas at this sort of Asian sushi place. I’m reading it right now because I hung it up. I had two fortunes in there, to start with. I didn’t realize it had a second one. When I turned it over, it says, ‘A four-wheeled adventure will soon bring you happiness.’ So that’s in a fortune cookie, right? That’s got to be great.

On Michael Andretti calling race strategy for her…

I don’t think it’s a matter of Mike choosing to pay more attention to me; it was a matter of the team using up all of the resources efficiently and well. Over the last couple of years, we’ve lost personnel here and there, been able to fill in the blanks. And Mike has been one of those guys that’s bounced around from car to car, offered his advice on what was going on, what he would do, playing sort of race strategist for all the drivers.

So it was an idea that went around the table. Mike took the job, and he said he buckled under a little bit of peer pressure for it. But it makes sense. He’s been around it so much. He still keeps an eye on everybody else, but while we’re out there on the track and in the cars, he’s on the Boost Mobile car. That’s just what the decision was for this year.

On why she has had success at Indy…

I don’t really know. I like it here. I enjoy it. I embrace the month. I have a lot of fun. What exactly makes me good here or whatever is subjective anyway I think if I do good or not.

I don’t really know. The first year I came here, I took the advice from all the people around me, the people that have been here the most. The advice was to respect the track, to be patient, and I do that. So, you know, maybe that’s part of it.

On her Kentucky Derby hat…

My derby hat (laughter)? I was running some low downforce because it was very uncomfortable. Like when you’re sitting down at the table there, at the event, I had to look up so far that I had a headache from getting past the brim of my hat. I wouldn’t describe it as a comfy setup.

About the less hot-headed Danica…

Is it OK, do you think? Do you think this is OK that I’m a little bit more calm?

I hope I’m not boring anybody (laughter).

I’ve learned from the past. Look, the emotional Danica is still there, but there’s a time and a place. The time and place is not every weekend. So it’s just easier. I think I always felt in the past like I had to prove to people that I cared and that I wasn’t happy being fifth or 12th or something by being mad. It just doesn’t really pay off, and it turns people off. It’s a lot easier and a lot more fun to be relaxed. It’s all bunnies and rainbows around here (laughter).

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