Danica Patrick talks escape from Peru, life under lockdown


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed everyone’s lives.

With virtually the entire world on lockdown, few if anyone is unaffected by the new changes in daily life in some form.

Danica Patrick and her boyfriend Aaron Rodgers were on vacation in Peru when the pandemic began to spread, and the two of them quickly made their escape home.

“We kind of got word at the very last minute that we had to leave 9:30 in the morning because Peru was shutting its borders down by 10 a.m.,” Patrick told Mike Tirico on Lunch Talk Live Thursday afternoon. “We found this out at midnight the night before.

“When we got there (at the airport), it was just crazy. There were people everywhere and it kind of reminded me of standing on the grid before any race.

Fortunately, both were able to make it home safely, but like others, Patrick has found a lot more free time on her hands as the world began to lockdown.

In the meantime, she’s been sharing her morning workouts on Instagram Live.

“I’ve also realized that you’re going to have the understanding of yourself and the people around you as to whether or not you’re an introvert or an extrovert,” Patrick said. “Either you’ve settled into this and you kind of like it, or you’re getting a little bit uncomfortable with the lack of people and hugs and touch and communication. You know that about yourself then. I guess it wasn’t until this time that I really realized just how much of an introvert I am.

“I like being home, I like taking care of people, I like playing house, I like making meals, I like working out from home. I am a self-starter, so I can work out by myself. While I’d love a change of scenery and I love traveling, I do love being home.”

While it may come to a surprise to some that a public figure like Patrick would enjoy so much time to herself, Patrick said that it was a discovery she made late in her racing career.

“I realized probably 5-6 years ago how much I really needed alone time. I learned that when I lived in North Carolina,” Patrick said. “I would take the dogs for long walks in the woods and do my yoga practices by my self. Once there was a gym built on the property, I started working out by myself, and I realized I really don’t need people.”

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”