Her final race this year with the IndyCar Series was marred by the horrific accident that left defending Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon dead.
Now she’s in NASCAR, closing out the final three races of the Nationwide Series with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports before embarking on a fulltime schedule next season.
Patrick is happy the IndyCar Series is working on a new car, but she knows it never will compare to the roll cage and roof that now protect her in NASCAR.
“There’s a level of bravery with the car without the wheels being exposed,” she said before finishing 11th last week at Texas Motor Speedway. “You can slide over, come down, move around the track a little bit that you’re really just going to bump door to door, fender to fender. It doesn’t mean there can’t be big accidents. Those things can happen.”
Patrick announced she also will drive in 10 selected Sprint Cup races next year with Stewart-Haas Racing, starting with the season-opening Daytona 500. While she still has aspirations of driving at the Indy 500, her interest in open-wheel racing will come as a spectator.
“Obviously, a lot of the serious accidents in IndyCar come from head injuries, so being covered like that is definitely a lot more comforting,” she said. “I’m really happy to have a roof over my head.”
CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK BLUES: With so much attention being spent on the newly-crowned champion, Kyle Busch hates going to the NASCAR Banquet unless he wins it all.
“The champion always looks forward to it,” said Busch, who has been eliminated from the championship. “The rest of us just dread it. It’s just like another week of business that we have to do that we don’t get to go on vacation.”