DANICA PATRICK VISITS CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY
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July 21, 2005 - IRL IndyCar driver Danica Patrick met with members of the media at Chicagoland Speedway Media Center Tuesday afternoon. Here is what she had to say:
THOUGHTS ON THE SEASON SO FAR
I think things are going pretty well. I have the support of a great racing team, people who know what they are doing. I've led in a couple of races and been on the pole. Now I need to fine-tune some things.
THOUGHTS ON RECORDING FIRST IRL VICTORY
Obviously I'm very excited about the prospect of getting my first win. That's my goal, and I'm confident it will come. It will take some luck and experience, but it will come.
THOUGHTS ON MEDIA COVERAGE
You have to keep it all in perspective and you have to understand. I very much feel it is a kind of story and people are following it. They are interested and excited about how it develops, and I am, too. But I have to first and foremost put racing first. As long as nothing sacrifices that area, the more attention the better, the more good attention, the better. A lot of people have written a lot of great stories about me. There was a headline in the paper in Nashville after I finished seventh there that said, `Not bad at all.' That was nice.
THOUGHTS ON HER POPULARITY WITH THE FANS, MEDIA, AND OTHER DRIVERS
At the beginning, people were excited about me being here (in the IRL) because it brought attention to our series. I think the morale is still good. I don't know if it is wearing on the other drivers, but I give them all a lot of credit. They've always been gracious about answering questions about someone else (Danica). The more good attention my being here brings to our series, the better. As long as it's all for the right reasons.
THOUGHTS ON BEING RECOGNIZED AS A ROLE MODEL
When I was growing up, I did not have role models. I did not have people I idolized. I always wanted to be a better me. It is difficult for me to be looked at as a role model, but I understand for a lot of people that me doing this gives hope. Cross-gender things are perfect in my world. I have never been a fake me. I have always been honest and will continue to be.
THOUGHTS ON THE UPCOMING IRL RACE IN MILWAUKEE (7/24/05)
We're going to be in Milwaukee this weekend. There will be a whole lot of people going there from my hometown(Roscoe, IL). It should be exciting. If I do well there, I will be very excited.
THOUGHTS ON HER MEDIA COVERAGE MOVING OFF THE SPORTS PAGES
The fact that it stepped outside the sports world so much and went into the Hollywood-style media was something that I didn't expect, something that is definitely different and foreign for me. I don't always know how to answer the question, `Do you want to be in movies and things one day?' I don't know how to answer that because I am so focused on what I am doing.
THOUGHTS ON HER COMPETITIVE NATURE
I'm a lot like my father in that I am very driven. I want to be the best I can be whether that's five steps or one step above others. I've never lost that drive. It's the same way if I'm playing cards or a board game. I can tell you a story about how I tore a card up playing monopoly. I'm so intense as a person.
THOUGHTS ON BEING A CELEBRITY
Right now I am having the best of both worlds. I am being able to do fun and exciting things like go to the ESPYs, go to a premier, meet really exciting people, great athletes, get great seats at restaurants and stuff like that. But I am not hounded. People are not chasing me and following me. I am very lucky. I have the glamorous side without the hurt.
THOUGHTS ON BEING WINLESS SO FAR THIS SEASON
I'm not necessarily frustrated that I am not winning yet. Sometimes I think, `Geez, if I had just done that, it might have turned out different.' We want to win every race, but we couldn't win every race in real terms. Sometimes we have a great shot and don't win and it's frustrating, but I'm happy and pleased so far. When you only have good weekends on the track now and again, you have to take advantage of those opportunities.
THOUGHTS ON RACING FOR THE IRL
When I lived in England for three years, I thought it was Formula One or nothing for me; that the best drivers in the world were in Formula One. But racing here, I have the luxury of family and friends, all of the creature comforts of home. I'm so glad to be living here and racing Indy cars. The driving part has been easier and harder than I expected. When things aren't right, you really have to stick it out. As a rookie, I'm still learning how to make my car fast all the time.