Danica Patrick made a brief media junket to Tampa Bay on Friday, humoring a morning radio show's queries about her suddenly famous tattoo and wielding her charisma hammer to promote the April 5 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the opener of the Indy Racing League season. In between her salad at the Atlanta Bread Company and somehow scoring boarding pass A03 on her Southwest flight home, Patrick chatted for a bit about her future, which as of now she hopes will mean re-signing with IndyCar's Andretti Green Racing, but could involve (gasp!) NASCAR or Formula One.
Times: So, the owners of the new Charlotte-based F1 team floated your name as a driver candidate. Have you spoken with them? And are you interested?
Danica Patrick: The first question: No. Am I interested in it? I would never say never, but it wouldn't be something that I'd search out. But I'd be happy to listen. Listening never hurt anyone. It's interesting, right? My name is out there and I've been asked how many times about it and they've still not called?
Times: So you'd like to return to AGR?
DP: Yes. It's a great team, a competitive team and good team, a fun team. Working there is fun, if you can call it work, I guess. I also have to evaluate all of my options and all of the opportunities out there. And just as I did the last time the contract came around, you have to know your worth, you have to know who wants you, you have to evaluate where you want to be.
Times: That leaves room for speculation about that all-consuming beast that is NASCAR, doesn't it?
DP: And it's an attractive beast. They obviously have a lot of drivers that enjoy it, and I've talked to some of them and the schedule is heavy but, then again, with the things that I do, to be honest, I'm gone every week anyway. So it wouldn't be a crazy departure from being a driver in the IndyCar series that maybe doesn't do quite so much, to go into NASCAR and have it be a shock. If I'm not on an airplane every week, if not a couple times a week, I'm surprised. So, I'm busy anyway. I think it's all part of the things you have to evaluate. For me, what it always comes down to, though, and this isn't a lie: where am I excited to be?
Times: But the excitement is still in IndyCars?
DP: Yeah, oh yeah. It's a great team. That's the thing. For me, in my career, I have to be in a situation where I can do well, because that's what drives the rest of it.