NHRA

‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits, Joe Amato among 8 NHRA legends who will drag race again

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Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Joe Amato and six other legends still to be revealed will be back behind the wheel and drag racing during the upcoming 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, to be held March 14-17.

The NHRA is calling the promotion “Unfinished Business” and will reveal the six other legends that will take part between now and January 31, with two names to be announced per week until the final two names are announced at month’s end.

Don Garlits/Getty Images.

The third and fourth drivers in the field will be announced this week.

The eight drivers will compete in identically prepared Toyota Camrys, with each car to be wrapped in graphics “to emulate looks inspired by some of the drivers’ favorite rides” in their respective careers, according to an NHRA media release.

Once all eight drivers and graphic packages are revealed, fans will then be able to vote to determine first-round pairings they would like to see.

Joe Amato/AllSport photos.

We are all excited to see the legends of NHRA go head-to-head in heated competition,” NHRA president Glen Cromwell said in a media release. “We’ve been celebrating these icons of the sport for the last year leading up to the Gatornationals and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them on the track.”

Follow the hashtag #UnfinishedBusiness on NHRA’s social media pages and also on NHRA.com for updates.

Check out the NHRA videos announcing Garlits’ and Amato’s participation in the event:

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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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