Sport Danica Patrick isn't racing in Indy 500 for nostalgia; she wants to win

19:56  16 may  2018
19:56  16 may  2018 Source:   ftw.usatoday.com

Patrick relieved to make Fast Nine shootout

  Patrick relieved to make Fast Nine shootout Danica Patrick, who will start her final race on Memorial Day Weekend, put her Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet into Sunday’s Fast Nine shootout for her final race and said her overriding emotion was relief. Patrick’s four-lap average of 227.610mph put her in eighth after everyone had completed their first runs, and as the Bump Day procedure began, Oriol Servia, Conor Daly and Jack Harvey all ran before three serious assaults on her time.Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay tried to improve his time and break into the top nine but couldn’t improve on 13th.

It’s the end of an era: Danica Patrick is retiring. With tears in her eyes, the most successful woman in American open-wheel racing said she ’ll hang up her helmet after taking one last shot at the Indy 500 .

Danica Patrick made history by becoming the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 . That was 11 years ago. Patrick finished fourth in 2005, the best result for a As the Indy 500 prepares to celebrate its 100th running, the question lurks in the background. Will a woman win the race soon? Or ever?

In less than two weeks, Danica Patrick will get behind the wheel of a race car and compete for the final time. The Indy 500 will mark the end of her 14-year career driving in the top racing series in the U.S. and will complete the second half of her farewell tour described as the Danica Double.

She closed her NASCAR career after eight seasons - six full-time - with the Daytona 500 in February, and she returns to the IndyCar Series and her racing roots for one more event, which she recently described in The Players' Tribune as "the opportunity to leave this sport on my terms".

Indy 500: Castroneves fastest, Hinchcliffe bumped out

  Indy 500: Castroneves fastest, Hinchcliffe bumped out The 2016 Indy 500 polesitter James Hinchcliffe has been knocked out of the 102nd running of the race after a dramatic Bump Day saw him never get up to speed, as Chevrolets dominated, and Danica Patrick made the Firestone Fast Nine. Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda was the first car to take to the track after a 2h20min rain delay, and it produced only a 224.784-mph four-lap average, which sank down the time sheets.When all 35 cars had made their initial runs, several cars hit the track to either get into the Fast Nine shootout for tomorrow, or to bump back into the field.

She still has the Indianapolis 500 ahead of her , and Patrick has set an extremely high bar for the final race of her career. "I'm going there to win the thing," Patrick said. Patrick begins her Indy 500 preparations in earnest next week with a seat fitting at Ed Carpenter Racing in Indianapolis .

Patrick later added that she and her team will have something significant planned for the Indy 500 announcement. “There’s nothing against Daytona, but just from being a young little girl, I had always wanted to win the Indy 500 ,” Patrick explained.

Weeks ahead of IndyCar's iconic race, Patrick has been the focus of all the attention. But as she explained in her entry, that's not why she wanted to end her racing career where it started. She wrote, via The Players' Tribune:

I'm not doing this as a novelty act.

I didn't decide to make this my final race so that I could stay at the back and wave at the fans.

One of the things that pushed me toward competing in this race is that I knew I had time to prepare. Just the knowledge that I'd be able to really focus on this and put everything I had into it was what made it feel right. Even though the idea of competing at the Indy 500 appealed to me, I knew the process of being truly ready for it would be a huge challenge.

I'll admit, a couple of weeks ago I was really, really nervous before I got in the car for the first time. Not nervous about any one thing in particular, but really everything. It had been a while since I'd driven an open-wheel car - something that at one point was so natural to me it was almost second nature. So naturally I went into that first run wondering if I still had it. Just sitting in the car, I was filled with so many thoughts: Is this going to come naturally? Is it going to be like holy [expletive], what did I get myself into? Will I wonder why I hadn't done this earlier? Will I wonder why I decided to do this in the first place?

Indy 500: Castroneves fastest in the afternoon, Pagenaud tops Day 1

  Indy 500: Castroneves fastest in the afternoon, Pagenaud tops Day 1 Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves set a 224.665mph fastest time to claim top time of the afternoon session, although his best effort was slower than that of Penske-Chevrolet teammate Simon Pagenaud in opening practice. Castroneves, who is no longer fulltime in IndyCar and last won at IMS in 2009 took just 40.0597sec to lap the 2.5-mile course, beating local hero and two-time Indy polesitter Ed Carpenter by just 0.14mph, with Jay Howard’s Schmidt Peterson-Honda just 0.005sec further back.However, Pagenaud cracked the 40sec barrier in the morning session and claimed fastest time of the day with a 225.

IndyStar Motor Sports Insider Jim Ayello breaks down IndyCar's new exclusive TV right deal with NBC and discusses why it's big step in the right direction for the series. Jim Ayello/IndyStar.

Danica Patrick posts photo and video on Instagram of her in GoDaddy race gear as she gets seat fitting for Indy 500 race . Sarah Crabill / Getty Images.

She recently explained why she was surprised and how she was challenged after her first time back in an open-wheeled car. But by the end of her second day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this month, she said she felt significantly more comfortable.

This week, Patrick and the other Indy 500 drivers will be practicing for hours on the track - here's how to live-stream it - all leading up to qualifying for the famous race on Saturday and Sunday.

As Patrick does this and that for the final time, she'll surely be soaking it all in. But as she continued to explain in her Players' Tribune entry, she's still pushing to win.

Heading into this final race, Indy still represents opportunity. It's the opportunity to leave this sport on my terms, not by just making an announcement, but going out there and leaving everything on the track. I get one more opportunity to head into the defining racing venue of my career with a single, achievable goal: Win.

Indy 500 field won't be expanded for Hinchcliffe, Mann

  Indy 500 field won't be expanded for Hinchcliffe, Mann Only 33 cars will start the Indianapolis 500 and the field will not be expanded to include James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann, two popular drivers bumped out of the race in qualifying. IndyCar president of competition and operations Jay Frye tells The Associated Press the series is not considering expanding the field for next Sunday's race. It was common practice for decades for more than 33 drivers to show up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with many top names failing to make the biggest race in America over the years.

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@ danicapatrick ) on Nov 19, 2017 at 6:09am PST. Some racing fans might scoff at Patrick ’s lack of success, especially at the NASCAR level. In IndyCar racing , she won one race — the Indy Japan 300 in 2008

She still has the Indianapolis 500 ahead of her , and Patrick has set an extremely high bar for the final race of her career. “I’m going there to win the thing,” Patrick said. Patrick begins her Indy 500 preparations in earnest next week with a seat fitting at Ed Carpenter Racing in Indianapolis .

The 102nd running of the Indy 500 is on Sunday, May 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Patrick will drive the No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Read her full essay at The Players' Tribune.

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Castroneves says 2018 IndyCar demands more finesse .
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, preparing for his first Indy as a part-time IndyCar driver, admitted learning the new-for-2018 aerokit has been difficult although he says the team has been a big help in the transition. Castroneves was switched to Penske’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program with the Acura ARX-05 this season, but has been  brought back to race a fourth IndyCar for the Grand Prix (in which he finished sixth) and the 102nd running of the Indy 500. He said that the series switch from manufacturer aerokits to spec Dallara kits had made IndyCars more demanding.

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