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Danica Patrick says Indy 500 plans complete

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Although she stopped short of announcing a team with which she’ll compete during the month of May, Danica Patrick on Monday asserted that her plans to run the Indianapolis 500, scheduled to be the final race of her career, are set.

“No, I just needed to make sure (the deal) was done. The rest I don’t really care about,” Patrick quipped when asked about specific details in a story posted on IndyCar’s website.

With GoDaddy as a sponsor for her venture, Patrick’s only scheduled races for 2018 are this weekend’s Daytona 500, where she will be competing with Premium Motorsports, and the Indy 500.

Patrick later added that she and her team will have something significant planned for the Indy 500 announcement.

“Obviously, the start of this (NASCAR) season didn’t happen any different than last season did, where I showed up and I hadn’t been in the car since Homestead,” she said. “It’s no different than that. But Indy is obviously totally different. We’ll do something a little more substantial for the announcement and the unveil.”

Patrick finished by saying that finishing off her career with the Indy 500 holds a great amount of personal significance to her.

“There’s nothing against Daytona, but just from being a young little girl, I had always wanted to win the Indy 500,” Patrick explained. “It’s not to say that Daytona is not an enormous deal. But I have to go with what feels like the most important in my heart and I came from open-wheel racing, I wanted to win the Indy 500 from being a go-kart driver when I was a kid and came close a few times. It’s kind of what started it all for me, so there’s just a lot more history there.”

Possible landing spots for Patrick include Ed Carpenter Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, all of whom traditionally field extra entries beyond their full-season efforts for the Indy 500. Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, which fielded a one-off entry for Sage Karam last year, could also be in play.

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NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.