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Q&A: Danica Patrick

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. Our guest this afternoon is Danica Patrick.

Danica, a couple of practice days this week before Pole Day on Saturday. You qualified in the top ten all four years at Indy. What are the things that you try and accomplish the first couple of days of practice and then what are the keys to turning in another solid qualifying effort on Saturday?

Danica Patrick:
First and foremost thanks, everybody for being on. It's a good opportunity to really just focus on qualifying. All the rest of the year we tend to not really be so heavily focused on it, and we kind of do maybe a qualifying practice run or two, but that's about it, and then we kind of fill the car up and work on race stuff from there.

We get a few days to really focus on it. It's about getting the car comfortable. You really want the car comfortable when it has more downforce on it. As you trim it out, the balance changes maybe a little bit, but really you want to start out with a good balanced car, and hopefully you can even take the downforce off and just get faster.

It's obviously a much more competitive field now, even in the last year, certainly than two, three, four or five years ago since you've been here. How much tougher do you think it's going to be to get in the top eleven on Saturday than maybe in years past?

Every year is challenging. But, I think you still have a lot of the leaders at the front of the field as you did four years ago. It's always been pretty tough. Yeah, there are a lot more drivers, and I think there are going to be more knocking on that top-11 door maybe more so than before.

Hopefully we don't have to worry about that and we get in that first day and we have a good qualifying run on the first one and it's good enough to put us in the top 11 and in the front row.

We have a question submitted, three questions from Michael Knight. It's often said it would help to grow the series' popularity for you, Marco [Andretti] and Graham [Rahal] to contend for race wins on a regular basis and be championship contenders. Do you still feel that sort of pressure or are you used to it by now? Have you discussed with that Marco or Graham or shared any advice with them about dealing with that potential pressure?

Everybody wants to win. That's the problem. At Indy, there's 33 of us, and the rest of the season there's 20 odd drivers that want to win. So, as much as it would be great if Marco and Danica and Graham were contending for race wins every weekend, that kind of reality is not - it can't happen every weekend anyway. It's just not normal for there to be the exact same three people.

Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League.  25-26 April 2009. Kansas Speedway, Kansas, Missouri USA Danica Patrick.
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The Andretti Autosport team go to work on Ryan Hunter-Reay`s car on pit lane in St. Petersburg on Friday March 27 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Matt Brabham, Andretti Autosport, Indy Lights [Credit: Matt Brabham]
Marco Andretti navigates the Turn 8-9 Esses complex during Tuesday`s Open Test sessions at Barber Motorsports Park on March 17 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Bryan Herta Autosport 2015 Indy 500 entry sponsored by Green1. (Picture Credit: Bryan Herta Autosport)
Green flag in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday August 24 2014 (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power leads the field to the green flag to start the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti sit in the Esses of Turns 4 and 5 after contact during the start of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti looks over his machine prior to practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The #28 Andretti Autosport team celebrates victory (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth and Marco Andretti cross the start/finish line during practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Michael Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay before kissing the bricks (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Michael Andretti (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti in action (Photo by: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti in the car (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti crosses the starting line (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti gears up. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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