Patrick defends her driving style
By Hank Kurz Jr.
RICHMOND, Va. ó Danica Patrick is the best known driver in the IndyCar Series, and she erased any doubt that she belongs when she became the first woman in history to win a major open-wheel race.
Her popularity with the fans, however, hasnít been shared by her fellow drivers of late.
After last weekís race in Iowa, Scott Dixon called her ia menace,î and Ed Carpenter referred to her inormal supreme block jobî in suggesting that Patrickís blocking style hampered his finish.
iI donít really know where those comments came from,î Patrick said during a meeting with reporters Thursday at Richmond International Raceway, the site of Saturday nightís SunTrust 300 IndyCar race.
Patrickís style was further brought under scrutiny Wednesday by Brian Barnhart, the IndyCar Seriesí president of competition and operations.
Barnhart said Patrick needs to continue treating her fellow competitors with respect or risk losing their respect because of her driving style. Asked to respond to competitorsí objections to her aggressive style and unwillingness to give up track position, she said sheís doing her job.
iAll I can say is with the words you used ó aggressive and giving up spots ó those are things that drivers never do,î she said.
iYou should never give up spots, and you ideally donít want to be someone thatís just passive out there. As a driver, Iím always trying to be aggressive, and I think, if anything, last weekend I maybe wasnít aggressive enough on the restarts. Thatís where I lost my spots.î
Respect, she added, is something sheís worked hard to earn.
Dressed in black on a blistering day, Patrick said sheís not out to become the IRLís answer to NASCAR bad boys Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart.
iI donít think thatís ever a route that you ever choose,î she said. iI think that in an ideal world, I would win over everyoneís heart and be a sweetheart and be tough on the track and have good finishes.î
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