Viso looks for “lucky seven” mentally

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E.J. Viso and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers are always keen on physical training to make sure they can handle the rigors of racing. But mental preparation is just as essential.

In an interview with Cesar Diaz of LatinoSports.com, Viso reveals that he tries to manage his emotions on a scale of 1-10, with seven being the optimal place for him. It’s a lesson he picked up from a sports psychologist that he worked with “for many years” until he recently passed away.

“When we are under seven, we think more with our head,” said Viso. “But when we are above seven, we think more with our heart. Of course, the perfect decision will be coming when you make a decision combining both. That’s where, merging around seven, it’s going to happen.”

As for his exploits on the track, Viso has shown solid efforts on race day so far this season for Andretti Autosport. In the season opener at St. Petersburg, Viso climbed from 22nd starting position to seventh at the finish, and last Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, he gained two spots on the final lap to come home 12th.

But as can likely be gathered, qualifying has been a problem for him and his No. 5 team so far. It’s something that Viso is aiming to improve upon.

“So far, we’ve been weak in the two qualifying sessions in this championship,” he said to Diaz. “However, we’ve shown to be very fast and have good race craft during the race, so I believe that as soon as we improve qualifying, everything is going to come around.”

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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