Danica Patrick is used to driving her Indycar in excess of 200 mph around circuits like the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But her final laps as an Indycar racer were driven more like a funeral procession. After Dan Wheldon’s fatal crash yesterday at the Indy 300, Danica, and the rest of the Indycar 300 grid, put in the final five laps of her Indycar career to honor her fellow competitor.
While workers were cleaning up the crash, Danica said:
“It was like a movie scene which they try to make as gnarly as possible. It was debris everywhere across the whole track, you could smell the smoke, you could see the billowing smoke on the back straight from the car. There was a chunk of fire that we were driving around. You could see cars scattered. I hope everyone is OK.”
Danica wasn’t the most successful rider in Indycar history, but she was one of the most popular. Danica was named the most popular Indycar rider for the last six years. She is the only woman to ever win an Indycar race (she won in 2008 in Japan) and was named rookie of the year in 2005.
Michael Andretti, one of Indycar’s most successful drivers with 36 winds and three championships, told ESPN:
“Danica did bring, I think, new fans to our sport and hopefully those fans aren’t here only because of Danica. “I’m sure she brought fans that normally wouldn’t have watched it but now have become fans of IndyCar racing.”
Patrick will now focus on racing full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Do you think Danica Patrick is making the right decision to leave Indycar racing?