Danica Patrick on lockdown advice, life after racing, fitness and CBD


Danica Patrick may be retired from racing, but that doesn’t mean she’s kept out of the public eye.

The first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 mostly has focused on finding new passions and advocating personal fitness since her racing career ended, and she details both in her podcast Pretty Intense. She also is the proprietor of Somnium, a vineyard and winery that she founded and owns in Napa Valley.

Her relationship with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers also has meant spending more time in California and Wisconsin. Lately, she’s also been leading workouts from her new home in Los Angeles on Instagram Live as people practice social distancing because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Patrick’s newest business venture is her investment in beam, a Boston-based wellness brand that sells organic CBD products that are THC-free. beam was started in 2018 by former minor league baseball pitcher Kevin Moran and former NHL center Matt Lombardi, who met at Boston College and began looking into CBD after their playing careers ended early because of injuries.

NBCSports.com recently spoke with Patrick, who was the first woman to win a major-league race (IndyCar at Twin Ring Motegi on April 20, 2008) and the first female pole-sitter in NASCAR Cup history (2013 Daytona 500).

MORE: Danica’s post-racing plans

She discussed her recent investment and ambassadorial role with beam, her life after racing and the advice she has for those looking to remain in shape during lockdown (the interview has been edited for clarity):

Q: Your investment in beam is one of many things that you’ve done since leaving the driver’s seat. Is there anything else that you’re working on?

Patrick: “I have a wine project that got put on hold for just a little bit, but I have another product that will be launched this summer. I think fitness is still something that I have yet to fully realize what I could do with. I wrote a book also called Pretty Intense, and there’s a fitness program in it. Right now during this lockdown, I’ve been doing the Instagram Live workouts for people and they resonate with it and really like it. Figuring out how to make that something more consistent would be nice.

“But also, I’m just relaxing. People ask, ‘What else are you doing?’ and my very motivated self asks ‘Wow, what am I doing? I’m doing this. I’m doing that.’ But I think especially right now I don’t want to be as busy as I used to be.”

Q: With the coronavirus, people aren’t going to have the chance to do things like go to the gym and go hiking. What kind of advice do you have for people who want to remain in shape while under lockdown?

Patrick: “I think you need to come up with some kind of schedule or routine and hold yourself accountable. I recommend that if there’s a live workout, try to do it. Find one that works for you at a good time, or at least have a time where you can play it. Create a routine or schedule for yourself, and then give yourself that freedom to go ahead and plan a day to do nothing.

“Say, ‘Today’s my day where I have no plan. I’m just going to get up whenever, relax, and do whatever feels like the right thing to do.’ That can be a plan – to do nothing.

“I think that especially since this is obviously going to go on for some more time – probably at least a month – it would be good to come up with some sort of plan or schedule for yourself. Otherwise, it’s very easy to just wake up and have something to eat and turn the TV on or look at your phone and just get distracted.

“All of a sudden you find yourself in the afternoon, still in your pajamas going, ‘OK. Well, I really haven’t done anything yet.’ For me, that’s why I also really enjoy doing Instagram Live workouts at 9 a.m. because it tells me, ‘OK, you need to get up.’ I actually set an alarm for those days to make sure that I have enough time to get ready for everything. A little routine can be helpful.”

Q: You’ve obviously found a lot of new passions since retiring from racing. With all major series on hold due to the coronavirus, what advice do you have for active drivers who now have a lot of free time on their hands?

Patrick: “I think this is a unique opportunity to be able to relax and to spend time with your family and slow down. Figure out what hobbies you like other than racing. There’s barely any time to figure any of that out (when racing), so I think that’s something that is going to be essential during this time. 

“The days are going to get really long if you have nothing to do. You got to figure out if you like to do yoga, if you like to go for bike rides, or if you like to go online and learn something. What do you like to do? Do you like to paint? Do you like to garden? What are your interests?

“This is a great time to figure those things out, as well as spend time with family and friends and people you normally don’t get a chance to. I know that a lot of it is virtual right now via FaceTime or Zoom, but it also gives you some contrast and perspective of being grateful for when you do get back to normal and doing things.”

Q: How did you learn about beam and why did you decide to invest?

Patrick: “I found out about beam from my agency who I just signed on with, as well as through some other channels that are a little more internal. They brought CBD and beam to my attention and then I got on a phone call with Matt and Kevin and connected right away.

“We talked about everything from Crossfit to Adaptogen, to the company and where it’s going, and to sports and coming from that world since they’re both ex-athletes as well. We just got along really well. They were also in a speed round for investment for their company, so once I got the product, tried it and realized how well it worked, I invested in the company before we did our deal with me as an ambassador. That’s how much I believe in their product.”

Q: What was it about beam’s product in particular that piqued your interest? 

Patrick: “That it worked. I’m always into trying things that are No. 1, natural and good for you, and No. 2, that work. There’s a lot of things that I do and put into my body or do for my body that is investing in the future of taking care of myself with, and then there’s ones that I come across along the way that actually just work today. For me, that’s what happened with beam. I realized, ‘Wow, this stuff actually really works.’ It wasn’t just a mindful investment of health and wellness by taking it. I actually felt better from it.

“The topical salve is really effective for muscles and sore anything. I remember I was using it back in Green Bay, and I had some rips on my hands from doing Crossfit and they said, “Put it on.” I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I didn’t know you could put it on open wounds.’ So I did.

“Not long after that, a lady that is in Green Bay that I know really well, her hands were hurting from arthritis, and I was like ‘Oh, I have an extra jar of this. You should use it for your hands.’ She came back to me after and was like, ‘Wow, that was really helpful. That makes my hands feel a lot better.’ The fact that it worked right away was such a rare thing to find.”

Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

Larson High Limit Eagle
High Limit Racing - Twitter

It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway