Danica: Cup debut at Indy was “not anything special”

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In her first Brickyard 400, Danica Patrick just couldn’t summon up the past magic she had in an IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Sprint Cup rookie was name-checked in the command from IMS board chairwoman Mari Hulman George – “Danica and gentlemen, start your engines,” she said – but was unable to move towards the lead pack in the race and finished 30th.

“You know, it just wasn’t anything special,” Patrick said about her long Sunday afternoon at the Speedway. “I just kind of kept with it and hoped to catch a break somewhere or that the car would get a lot better and it just kind of stayed real steady.”

“We took two tires on one of the stops and we got track position out of it, but unfortunately, it just didn’t run very well. So, we tried something; it just didn’t work and that’s that. It just was what it was.”

Patrick believed that additional practice would have helped matters, saying that despite her past experience at IMS, she felt that she didn’t know the track well enough in the car she had today.

“I didn’t feel like I was extremely comfortable as in I knew where to take the car to the limit,” she said. “More time would have probably helped. That’s where experience comes in and it’s not like [the Indianapolis 500] – we don’t have a whole week [to practice]. So, we’ve got to get it done in a couple of hours.”

Despite her problems on the track, she was still happy for Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman, who won in front of his home crowd.

“We’ve had a trying year for sure and so, the high point of Tony [Stewart] winning at Dover and Ryan winning here is pretty cool,” she said. “This is a special place and I’m sure he’s very happy in Victory Lane.”

Hinch boldly “goes” where many drivers have gone before

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One of the most common questions racing drivers face is “What happens if you have to use the bathroom when you’re driving?”

And the most common answer is “You just go.” While admittedly a little disgusting, it is nonetheless a problem that occasionally surfaces, and an innumerable amount of drivers have done so in their careers.

However, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe apparently had never found himself in such a predicament in his career. That is, until Sunday in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

While under the first red flag for rain, Hinchcliffe started to receive “nature’s call.” Unable to get out of the car to use a restroom – drivers had not been permitted to get out of their cars – Hinchcliffe was forced to wait and hold it.

But when the cars briefly took to the track again prior to a second red flag, it became too much to handle, and Hinch was forced to “relieve himself” while circulating under caution.

“I always maintained that I knew at some point in my career it would happen,” he quipped to NBCSN’s Kevin Lee.”

He added, “I was sitting there under that first red (flag), just begging to get three minutes. That’s all you need, (steering wheel off to wheel on). And when we got going again, my legs were shaking, I had to go so bad. I’m like ‘I can’t drive a race car like this.’ So under caution, it took me a full lap, it was one of the least comfortable experiences of my entire life, but I can officially say I’ve joined the likes of Will Power, Dario Franchitti, and other greats that have peed themselves in their suit.”

Social media reaction added to the moment’s hilarity, with SPM and teammate Robert Wickens weighing in.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal also chimed in, coming to Hinchcliffe’s defense.

Hinchcliffe, fully refreshed, will restart the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in fifth when racing resumes on Monday.

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