Danica Patrick adamant she’s not leaving NASCAR for F1: ‘I wouldn’t go anyway’

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Ever since team owner Gene Haas announced last year that he would field a team in Formula One starting in 2016, speculation has revolved around Danica Patrick possibly switching from NASCAR to an F1 ride.

It’s not necessarily that much of a stretch, as Patrick has a prior open-wheel background in the IndyCar series.

The Danica-to-F1 conversation has ratcheted up the last several weeks when Haas confirmed during last month’s NASCAR media tour that Patrick is in the last year of a three-year contract to drive a Sprint Cup car for SHR.

Patrick has already previously said she wasn’t interested in moving to F1, but a new interview with Autoweek.com seems to give the final word that she’s not going anywhere, period.

At least not to F1.

“Many, many people have always said that I will move to F1 one day,” she said. “But no one ever talked to me about it. That’s okay, because I wouldn’t go anyway.”

Even though a potential move to F1 would be global news and take Patrick’s popularity to unprecedented heights, her reason to say no to the international series is rather simplistic: she doesn’t want to leave home in the U.S.

“It’s not so much that I am not interested in driving a Formula One car,” Patrick said. “But in order to do it properly, I would have to leave the U.S., and for me that is out of the question.”

Patrick, who turns 33 on March 25, lived overseas for three years earlier in her career when she competed in Formula Ford, primarily in the United Kingdom.

The native of Roscoe, Ill., returned to the U.S. and became one of the most popular drivers in the IndyCar Series from 2005-2011 before shifting full-time in the NASCAR world in 2012 (she had raced part-time in 2010 and 2011).

She spent one full-time season in the then-Nationwide Series before going full-time in the marquee Sprint Cup Series in 2013.

Patrick told Autoweek that neither Haas nor anyone else has talked with her about moving to F1.

Plus, her hesitance about even considering a move is compounded by the reality of her chances of success in F1.

“I only want to do things if I have a chance to win,” Patrick said. “And as an outsider, that would be so difficult in Formula One.”

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Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”