Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Patrick settling into IndyCar, still needs work in traffic

Patrick settling into IndyCar, still needs work in traffic

So today's refresher course was very important for her.

Patrick sure didn't look or act nervous in the cockpit even though it was her first trip in an Indy auto around the 2.5-mile oval since 2011.

Patrick also explained that a heavy steering sensation made things a little more complicated, despite a well-documented and intense workout regime she has become known for.

Asked about her comfort level back in 2005 when she was a rookie at IMS, Patrick said, "There were times where I was driving off the belief that everything was so locked down for me that nothing can really go wrong with the back of the auto, just drive through it".

Her biggest issue came with acclimating herself to the feel of the vehicle after six years in a stock auto, and she was concerned that the wheel felt heavy in her hands as she tried to steer.

Initially, things got off to a rough start for Patrick, whose No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing was plagued with a water temperature issue when she first ventured out on track, prompting the ECR team to bring her back in for a quick check of the auto. One of her biggest problems was how heavy the wheel felt as she tried to steer.

"The vehicle, it just felt very hard to drive", she said. "As for a tow, I know that if you can see a auto, it's helping you". "I feel overwhelmed with enough other stuff that I wasn't really checking the rearview mirror, hitting buttons, moving stuff around". She's taking "baby steps" while getting readjusted, but she needed a little help figuring out the basics of the auto and the buttons on the steering wheel.

"The steering feels a lot different", Carpenter said.

"I never saw a vehicle other than when I came in and out of the pits", she said during Wednesday's lunch break.

Patrick was the 2005 Indy 500 rookie of the year and is one of 14 drivers to lead the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500. "I felt like it was easier to qualify for Indy 500".

Regarding her aims for tomorrow's manufacturer test, Patrick said the idea was to be "flat out and comfortable, making changes, feeling the changes".

"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", Danica admitted, "But I stayed out there and I did all those 20 laps to complete it all".

"I feel better, and hey, look, on anything that you're doing - whether it be your work, your goals, your recovery from an injury, whatever it is - as long as it's headed in the right direction and the trajectory is going the way you want it to, then it's just a matter of time". It, definitely for me, I forget it's not really Indy.

Notes: Jay Howard and Sage Karam also participated in the refresher course and four drivers went through rookie orientation.

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