Danica Patrick is back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway preparing for what is expected to be the final race of her career.
The 36-year-old announced last fall that she would retire from racing after taking one last shot at the Indianapolis 500. She’s back in an Indy car for the first time since leaving the series in 2011 to race in NASCAR and was on the track Tuesday to complete the speedway’s required refresher course.
Patrick said she had been waiting to get the day over with for “a long time.”
“I say that with love,” she said after successfully completing the test session. “I want to get through this so I can get to the fun part, which is really running, making changes, making [the car] faster, feeling really comfortable.”
Patrick struggled to get comfortable with her new car during the Tuesday's session. A water temperature issue after the first lap ate up valuable track time and then there were issues with her headrest and the steering.
“It just felt very hard to drive,” Patrick said of her car. “The weight of the wheel was very heavy for me.”
With some adjustments to the aerodynamics, the handling improved and so did her lap times. And, she says, she felt “a lot better” by the end of the day.
Patrick will be back on the track Wednesday during manufacturer testing. She said she is looking to have a smooth day where she feels comfortable going flat out around the track. And she is reminding herself it's only a test.
"We'll be back again in two weeks, and that's when it really starts" she says. "There are many days before qualifying."