After crashing out of her final race before she retires from motorsport, Danica Patrick has said that despite the disappointing result in the 2018 Indianapolis 500, she ends the month having experienced some great moments.
Patrick made a one-off return to the Verizon IndyCar Series for last Sunday’s race after an almost seven-year absence. The race was the second half of her “farewell” to motorsport before retirement, having also participated in the NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 back in February.
Her final NASCAR race ended prematurely when she was one of many involved in a large mid-race wreck, which saw her #7 GoDaddy Premium Motorsports Chevrolet too damaged to continue.
A few months later, Danica would make her long-awaited return to the Indy 500, hoping that the site of some of her greatest races would yield one more strong result before she took off her helmet for the last time. Her return started off fantastically, as she took her #13 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet into the “Fast Nine” shoot-out for pole position, qualifying an eventual seventh place.
The race, on the other hand, would end far too early. Danica dropped back a touch in the opening laps of the race as she looked to settle into a comfortable rhythm. However, this was proving tricky for many drivers, with the lower-downforce aero package making it hard to remain in control at speeds in excess of 220-mph.
Patrick’s race would end in a similar manner to many other drivers on the grid, including Helio Castroneves, Sebastien Bourdais and more. Danica appeared to lose the rear-end of her car on the exit of turn two, with the resulting spin sending her into the barriers on the inside of the circuit. The damage to the car was too much for her continue and she was forced to end her final race in a hugely disappointing manner.
“I do feel like it was unexpected,” Danica said of her race-ending crash, “but on the other hand, the car was a little bit positive today and turning more than I wanted it to. I was just having to chase it a lot. Turn two did seem a little bit more edgy than the other corners, but I can’t say that in that point in time that I was on edge or felt like I was. It just swung around as soon as I recommitted back to the throttle again, I felt a little bit of understeer in the middle of the corner.
“I wasn’t expecting it by any means, but I think it just goes to show that these cars are tough to drive. All the drivers out there are great drivers.”
Patrick would go on to say how sad she was to have ended her final race in the way that she did, but she would also express her gratitude toward Ed Carpenter Racing and her fans for enabling her to at least attempt to finish her long and groundbreaking career on a high.
“It was definitely not the way I wanted to end, of course,” Patrick said, “I wouldn’t want to end any year like this, but being my last race, it definitely makes it a lot worse. I did have some good moments here this month. I won’t forget that, and I won’t forget my fans either.”
“I’m very grateful to everybody for being able to finish it up like I wanted to.” she added, “There are still a lot of great moments. A lot of great moments this year.”
As she stood up to leave her final press conference, Patrick made one last comment to the media, who have often celebrated and criticised her; sometimes in unequal measure:
“I’ll miss you, most of the time. Maybe you’ll miss me, too.”
The next two races for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series will be run this weekend. The 2018 Duel in Detroit will take place on June 2 and 3 at the Belle Isle street circuit.