Unhappy Return For Patrick

Danica Patrick's return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and preparation for Sunday's Indy 500 didn't go as planned as the Andretti Autosport driver struggled in qualifying and blasted the set-up of her car.

“No, I think it was absolutely awful," Patrick said on the track's public address system after her run, comments that were met by a chorus of boos from the grandstand. "I wasn't flat the last two laps, and I was scared to death flat the first two. And it didn't get better. You know, the problem is, is that the car can be fast. You trim it out and it accelerates, so there's no issue there. It's just that the balance and the car itself is so bad, we can't even trim it out to go faster.

"By the sounds of the trim numbers, I think we're pretty excessive anyway, but ... I don't know. I'm very, very disappointed. I've never been bad here before. I've never been outside the top 10 on a finish or qualifying, so, um, it's not my fault. This car is not good.”

After expressing herself publicly, Patrick met the media to explain her comments and disappointment with what turned out to be the 23rd fastest lap of the qualifying session.

"I have a feeling this is going to be an interesting press conference," she said as the media session began.

"Shoot! I say one confident thing out there that it’s not me, and everybody boos me. I’m blown away. These people, I mean. I don’t know, maybe they all booed me before. I would think that some of them have probably cheered for me before, and I’m not a different driver than I was five years ago. I don’t know if those people were here five years ago, but I got loose in (Turn) 1 and caught it and kept my foot down. So I can drive a loose car but this is beyond. Obviously.

Patrick will now have to start Sunday's race from the middle of the field and deal with traffic from the drop of the green flag. However she's confident about getting the job done and points to past experience racing from the middle of the field.

"Well, I have been in the back of the field at some points during this race, the first race in particular where I went toward the front, well, I started up front," she said. "Then I stalled it. Went to the back. Came back through. Was up to sort of eighth-ish or something. Had a bad restart. Got clipped. Had to start from the back again and made my way up. It’s a lot of buffeting; it’s a lot of moving around. A lot of thinking, ‘Is this thing broken right now? Because it doesn’t feel right.’

"But at least I have that experience if for some reason we decide that we’re just not going to go out again. The GoDaddy car deserves to be higher up than this. It’s better than this. It’s just not set up right."


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Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
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