INDIANAPOLIS — Danica Patrick is back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Could a return to the Indy 500 be next?
As Patrick spent Thursday preparing for the Nationwide race at Indianapolis on Saturday, she also was looking ahead to next season, when she plans to move up to a full-time Sprint Cup Series schedule. And as part of that move up to Cup, she’d apparently consider “doing double” duty next May — running the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s race at Charlotte on the same day.
“I would love to do it,” Patrick said. “I’ve said that all along. I love this track, I love the race, I feel like I’ve had really good races. I feel like it was always one of my strongest races of the year in IndyCar. So I feel like that’s something that I would love to do, and maybe it’ll happen and maybe it won’t.”
Jet-setting between two cities to run 1,100 miles of racing in two remarkably different styles of cars would be an impressive feat — but not an unprecedented one. Drivers Tony Stewart — who will be Patrick’s team owner in Cup next season — Robby Gordon and John Andretti have done both races in the past.
Patrick has raced in seven Indy 500s, finishing a career-best third in 2009. She skipped the race this year, preferring to concentrate on making the transition from IndyCar to NASCAR.
Patrick says she still has fond feelings for Indy and is happy to be back, even if she’s driving a stock car this time. The Nationwide Series makes its debut at the historic 2.5-mile oval this weekend, with the Sprint Cup Series’ Brickyard 400 on Sunday.
“I don’t care what I drive around this track, I love being here,” Patrick said. “I just like everything about it. I like the facility, obviously. And to me, the special thing about Indy is, obviously I’ve had great experiences, but it’s about the track. So it doesn’t matter what kind of car I come in here (driving). I’ve had great experiences, memories. That’s what I like so much about it.”