For the last race of her career, professional race car driver Danica Patrick has qualified as the 7th fastest of 35 drivers vying for a slot in the legendary Indianapolis 500.
She will be the only woman in the field, and starts in the third row, inside position for Sunday's race.
Oh how the memories fled back in with this view from my rookie orientation in 2005, lucky number 13 years ago. . . BUT, it was race 5 of the season and I was just coming off of a front row start and a 4th place at the race before Indy in 05. ......today was not as easy since it’s been 7 years since I drove Indy in an open wheel car. But I felt ok, and tomorrow is a full day of practice. ....and it ain’t even the official “month of May” yet! . #danicadouble @godaddy @ecrindy @jonferrey
With the big race just six days away, Patrick says she’s feeling good about being back on the speedway racing one of her all time favourite races, where she’ll be driving for GoDaddy.
"It's really starting to sink in that this is it – my last race. I couldn't ask for a better way to end my racing career, except of course if I can go out with a win at the Indy 500,” said Patrick.
Qualifying at Indy is a thing. It’s special. Stressful. Rewarding. Depressing. Scary. Easy. Fast. It can change from day to day. Lap to lap. Year to year. You just never know....so I don’t take the good days for granted. . . Feeling pretty grateful to come back after 7 years and qualify 7th. Congrats to @ecrindy on the pole. Bad fast man. And congrats job to @spencerpigot on a great job too stating 6th. Awesome day for the team. . . @godaddy @jonferrey @playerstribune @indianapolismotorspeedway #danicadouble
Danica averaged 228.090 miles-per-hour yesterday in what's known as the Fast Nine, the final qualifying round for Pole position, captured, this weekend, by her teammate and team co-owner Ed Carpenter. He'll start in the first slot Sunday, after averaging 229.618 miles-per-hour yesterday.
“I'm definitely visualizing the checkered flag," Patrick said. "As race day gets closer, I'm getting a little sentimental. I have met so many great people here at Indy. I've had such amazing experiences, and learned a whole lot. I owe much of what I have in life to racing, but I'm ready – I'm ready to experience one last Indy 500 and then move into my next chapter, focusing on my entrepreneurial goals, my creative energy and enjoying what's next in life."
Patrick will be putting her focus on her Napa Valley vineyard, Sominum, which is Latin for "dream." She is also expanding her own athleisure clothing line, Warrior By Danica Patrick, and launched Pretty Intense, her new book focused on food, exercise and the mind/body connection this year.
The Indianapolis 500 is where Danica first sped into the spotlight, becoming the first woman to lead laps in the world-renowned race in 2005. It's been a cornerstone of her storied career. She scored the highest Indy 500 finish for a woman, capturing third-place in 2009. She led laps again in the 2011 Indy 500, and has six top-10 finishes in seven Indy 500 career starts. She's also the only woman to have won a Verizon IndyCar Series race, the Indy Japan 300, in 2008.
Thumbnail Photo:Getty Images/Jonathan Ferrey