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As retirement approaches, is Danica Patrick a Hall of Famer?

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DETROIT (AP) — As Danica Patrick prepares for her farewell at this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, another big event on the auto racing calendar looms this week: The vote for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Jeff Gordon is the big name among the nominees for Wednesday’s vote , but as Patrick’s retirement approaches, her own candidacy for an honor like that has become an interesting topic.

Ed Carpenter, this year’s Indy 500 pole winner and Patrick’s team owner for Sunday’s race, was asked if she should receive Hall of Fame consideration.

“I think so, yeah,” he said at an event in Michigan. “She definitely broke down barriers. She’s done a ton of good for the sport of racing, both in IndyCar and in NASCAR. She’s a fierce competitor. I’ve raced against her for a long time, and she’s earned her place just like the rest of us. She’s had her success, she’s taken her lumps, just like the rest of us. But she’s definitely left a very good legacy and has done far more good for racing than a lot of drivers have.”

Carpenter wasn’t asked about any specific Hall of Fame honor for Patrick, whose career has spanned both open-wheel and stock-car racing. She is the only woman to lead laps in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. She won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013 and won an IndyCar race in 2008.

But that was her lone IndyCar win. She never had a top-five finish in NASCAR.

Patrick seemed caught by surprise when asked about possible Hall of Fame honors Tuesday in New York .

“I don’t know, I think that anything I have accomplished as a statistic or something to be honored for, whatever, they are things that if they happen, they are great, but they were not my goal,” she said. “Any record I have I didn’t really know until after; those things either happen or they don’t, all those kinds of things I don’t plan on. I am not really thinking about that, anything like that, though it is quite the honor.”

Patrick finished third in the Indy 500 in 2009, and she led 19 laps in the race as a rookie in 2005. She qualified seventh for this weekend’s race.

“I think she’s the best female there ever was, right? You’ve got to give her credit for what she’s done,” 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud said. “Quite frankly, this month, she’s done tremendous. She’s calm, collected, she hasn’t made a mistake with the car. She’s done her job so far. She was the only woman in NASCAR. She’s the only woman to win an IndyCar race. You’ve got to respect that.”

Photo gallery: IndyCar iRacing at Barber Motorsports Park

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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VIRTUAL LEEDS, Ala. — The second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge was held on a picturesque Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park, which looked as pristine in a simulation as in real life.

Scott McLaughlin won over Will Power by 0.4241 seconds, leading a 1-2 sweep by Team Penske in a wild 45-lap race. Sage Karam started on pole and led the first 24 laps in pursuit of his second consecutive victory, but he was out by Lap 29 after multiple on-track incidents.

Even though the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is keeping cars off the track in the real world, there still some beauty to be found in iRacing.

WINNER: Scott McLaughlin holds off teammate Will Power

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions on social media

RESULTS: Where everyone finished at virtual Barber Motorsports Park

Courtesy of Getty Images’ Chris Graythen, here are a collection of screenshots from around the rolling hills and sweeping vistas of the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course that features some interesting sculptures:

Alexander Rossi, who finished 22nd in his No. 27 Dallara-Honda, races alongside the No. 55 Chevrolet of Alex Palou (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

The No. 6 Chevy of Robert Wickens, who was eighth in his return to competition Saturday, makes a climb at Barber Motorsports Park, whose famous spider structures lurk in the background (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Graham Rahal, who finished 14th despite his lack of iRacing experience, races next to a thicket of trees at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

A sweeping overhead shot of Barber Motorsports Park during Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Kyle Kirkwood (top) and Colton Herta race their Andretti Autosport Hondas down the frontstretch at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

James Hinchcliffe, whose Dallara-Honda thankfullly started this week, placed 17th at Barber (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden was sporting a nice shade of baby blue on his No. 1 Dallara-Chevrolet in finishing ninth (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Watkins Glen winner Sage Karam led the first 24 laps before falling behind in the pits and then falling out after contact from multiple incidents (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Five-time series champion Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Dallara-Honda made its IndyCar iRacing Challenge debut, finishing 16th (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Scott McLaughlin briefly goes off course while leading the field in a winning drive from his home in Brisbane, Australia (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Oliver Askew, who spent more than a dozen hours practicing on a simulation with his Arrow McLaren SP engineers, started ninth and finished 15th at Barber Motorsports Park (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

It was another tough iRacing outing for 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, who said he struggled with pitting glitches in a 26th-place finish (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Barber Motorsports Park is known for its collection of large steel structures featuring overgrown animals and insects, such as this spider keeping watch over Saturday’s race (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).