Danica Patrick, 36, is making one last run at the Indianapolis 500, the second leg of her “Danica Double” farewell tour that started at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in February. “(The Indy 500) is the one that started it all,” says Patrick, who was named IndyCar Series Most Popular Driver from 2005-10. “It’s full circle, for sure. It’s a big stage and a big opportunity to do well.” We caught up with Patrick to talk about racing, her book, Pretty Intense, and the perfect race-day recipe for the Indy 500 on May 27.
Is there an Indy 500 memory that stands out?
My first (Indy 500) stands out. Leading, and then losing the lead, and then having a restart. Then, took the lead back again and pulled away. But I was presumably short on fuel, and so I was dialing it back and saving fuel and that's when second place caught me and I ended up finishing fourth.
Does your strategy change at all, since this is your last race?
No. I don't think you know how to do anything different than what's natural. It's not like I'm holding back ever out there. It's not like I can say, "Well, I'm going to try harder this time."
Will you treat the pageantry surrounding the race any differently?
It probably will be more emotional. Last this, last that, last practice day, last parade. It's whatever you hype it up in your mind to be. Some of it will be to go there and have a little perspective and be grateful and respect the history that it has for me. It's going to be emotional on race day.
Explain the concept behind your book, Pretty Intense…
It's a three-part book. It starts off with the mental aspect of growing confidence and learning about yourself. The second part is about workouts and why they're structured like they are; it includes the 12-week program. The third part is food and diet. It has 50 recipes that I wrote and photographed myself.
Indy 500 Watch-Party Pulled Pork
“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is appointment viewing. Here’s a slow-cooker recipe that is sure to win over race fans watching the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.
4 lb pork (any large cut, like Boston butt or picnic shoulder)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
• Mix salt, pepper, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and paprika in a small bowl.
• Rub meat with olive oil. Rub seasoning on all sides of the pork and put it in slow cooker.
• Cover and cook on High for the ﬁrst hour, then turn heat to Low and cook between 6-9 hours. Flip meat about halfway through.
• Shred meat in slow cooker so it can absorb all the juices.