Danica Patrick Reveals Greatest Regret Of Her Racing Career

Patrick noted a better way she would have wanted to go out in a race


September 22

Danica Patrick is a trailblazer in the auto racing world, but her history-making moment came with regrets.

For decades, there was a barrier for entry when it came to women in auto racing. The 40-year-old broke those barriers, and she made history in 2005 by becoming the first women to race in the Indianapolis 500. Patrick took in Rookie of the Year honors, but despite carrying the lead three times for a total of 19 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, she finished fourth. Her finish was likely due to conserving fuel in the final 30 laps. Dan Wheldon eventually took the lead and won the race.

Patrick reflected on the moment with Emmy-winning reporter Graham Bensinger. She noted those kinds of moments only come once in your life, and she elaborated on what she would have done differently that day.

“You know being experience now looking back, I would have rather hoped for a yellow (caution) at the very end and stayed in the lead than playing it safe to make sure I had enough fuel to finish the race,” Patrick told Bensinger, per Twitter video. “Much cooler to run out of fuel in the lead than it is to just drop back in the end. I mean, it was still a great story, but I played the lucky dog card and hoped for some luck where you could win the race. I would have just banked on hoping I had enough or a yellow instead of just de-tuning myself.”

She later noted how methods to check fuel were not around in 2005, but it was later known Patrick would have had enough to go two and a half more laps in the race. Patrick would go on to make more history in NASCAR, but of course as a high-level competitor, there will always be “what-if” moments to ponder.

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