Danny Sullivan’s Indy car record at Pocono has held up for nearly 25 years

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Records supposedly are made to be broken, but apparently not Danny Sullivan’s.

The 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1988 CART series champion still holds the record for fastest average speed in a 500-mile race (170.720 mph) at Pocono Raceway.

Well, there’s a caveat to that — Sullivan set the mark in 1989, the last time the 2.5-mile tri-oval on the cusp of the Pocono mountains hosted an open-wheel Indy car race. He also won there in 1984 (both times on the CART circuit).

Now, after a nearly quarter-century, Indy car racing returns to the infamous “Tricky Triangle” on Sunday for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Pocono IndyCar 400 Fueled by Sunoco.

“I think Pocono is an ideal track for IndyCars,” Sullivan said in a story on IndyCar.com. “With all of the upgrades, improvements in safety, you should see a great return from the IndyCar Series.”

Will a modern day driver like Will Power, Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti, Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, current points leader Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay or James Hinchcliffe finally break Sullivan’s 24-year record?

Time will tell. And even if someone does break his mark, Sullivan will still have some great memories both of Pocono and his past time there.

“A great layout, and three distinctly different corners makes a good setup difficult,” Sullivan added. “Pocono used to be rough, but that added to the challenge. My races there were always close and competitive. Winning it twice was special.”

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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