Ed Carpenter Racing’s Danica Patrick in the No.13 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet said that her first day back in Verizon IndyCar Series car in nearly seven years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a day of anticipation as she got up to speed in the Indy 500 refresher course.
Patrick set a speed of 218.500MPH and speaking following the session she said:
We started off with an install check. It’s a brand-new car, so there was a water temperature issue. Took it back to the garage. There’s only three hours today, so you burn an hour pretty quickly getting out there and getting back in, getting back out to pit lane again. Then it was out one time, coming in just to make sure everything was OK. Then the next run was just too slow. It wasn’t above 210 mph. The car, it just felt very hard to drive. The weight of the wheel was very heavy for me, so I don’t know what the heck I’ve been doing because I feel a lot stronger than when I was here before. (…) I can pick some weight up. But I did not feel very strong out there. My old engineer Matt (Barnes) ran me today. He made it easier to drive. It’s still not by any means where I want it, but it was enough that we could complete today. With 30 minutes to go and five laps of the second phase and 15 laps of the third phase together, I’m like, I don’t know if I’m going to get through this today. But I stayed out there and I did all those 20 laps to complete it all. It felt fine. Actually felt fairly comfortable at that point in time for the level of discomfort with the way the wheel felt, things like that, and with the amount of front aero we took out of it to lighten the wheel up for me. Here we go, my old words, a little bit of ‘understeer’ out there. I was going to say ‘tight’ but I corrected myself. It was definitely a little too much understeer to go really, really fast. But it was enough to complete the day and move on for tomorrow. I felt like I was able to feel the grip limit of the car, especially the front, of course, because took so much front aero out. I was really able to feel the front sliding pretty well, even with the way it felt. That’s good for me. Tomorrow, it will feel even more comfortable. But I’ve been waiting to get this day over with for a long time. I say that with love. I hope there’s some understanding for the words that I’m using. I want to get through that so I can get to the fun part, which is really running, making changes, making it faster, feeling really comfortable. It was just a day of anticipation, a level of not knowing.
Patrick will be back in action on Wednesday for the manufacturer test at the Speedway.