Danica Patrick, one of the very few women to compete in top-tier racing, is assured of competing in the Indianapolis 500 after GoDaddy Inc. committed to bankroll her last appearance in what is still called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Sponsor GoDaddy unveiled on Thursday on social media platforms the No. 13 Chevrolet that Patrick will drive in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May.
GoDaddy is a US-based publicly-traded Internet domain registrar and web-hosting company that has about 17 million customers and over 6,000 employees worldwide.
The bright green car Danica will drive in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 is reminiscent of the one she is most remembered for during a seven-year Verizon IndyCar Series career from 2005 to 11. She has since raced in the NASCAR series.
“It’s pretty damn real, it’s completely real,” said Patrick, who turned 36 on March 25. “Yeah, I’m excited. It scares me a little bit to look at how small that rear wing is, but hey, I’m sure there’s [downforce]grip somewhere – more grip than I’m used to.”
Patrick hasn’t been in an IndyCar racing machine since the close of the 2011 season. She was hoping to be on the 2.5-mile oval for two days this week for a veteran refresher and manufacturer testing, but those sessions were postponed by inclement Indianapolis weather that included snow on Sunday last week and rain this week. Testing has been rescheduled for April 30 to May 2.
Danica is a veteran of 116 Verizon IndyCar Series starts and the only woman to win a major open-wheel race with her 2008 victory at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi.
When she does testing on May 1 to 2, Patrick has a simple checklist to complete, including “developing a good little rapport with the team and getting excited and having fun.” She has, however, never driven the new Dallara IR-12 chassis for Indy Cars that now use twin-turbocharged, V-6 engines.
“For me, it’s just getting a feel for the tendencies of the car in general,” Patrick said. “Even if I was getting back in the exact same Indy car that I drove the last time I was in one, I’d still want to know that after being gone so long.”
“Just knowing what does a little bit of front wing do, what does a little right rear spring do, what does a stiffer front sway bar feel like. Just little things to change ‘em up and see what the tendencies tend to be with the car. Things that will be go-tos maybe when we get going for real,” she added.