Danica Patrick has responded to comments suggesting that any potential move from open-wheel racing to NASCAR would be madness for one of her physical stature by claiming that she has never failed to adapt to a car in her career.
The 27-year old is nearing the end of her current IndyCar Series contract with Andretti Green Racing and, as was the case the last time she needed to inject pace into negotiations, has openly indicated that she would listen to interest from NASCAR. Patrick is currently backed by Motorola, through the Boost Mobile brand, and is seen as a major commercial target for the stock car series.
With two top three finishes in the Indianapolis 500 to go with the only success for women drivers in top level US open-wheel competition - at Motegi last year - Patrick remains a favourite in the IndyCar Series, but insists that she will do what's best for her when it comes to deciding on options for 2010.
"I've had opportunities to take it a step further with F1, [but] it's not in my heart to go there," she told the LA Times
, "I've explored Europe before, [but] I particularly like to be here, I like my family and I like my friends and I like my creature comforts of my home country."
"[The IndyCar Series has told me] 'we want you here', but we'll see. At the end of the day, I've got to go with my gut about what I want to do. I already drive for a great team, so I need to be on a great team no matter what I do. The team has to make sense, the deal's got to make sense, the progression has to make sense. I might race IndyCar and never go to NASCAR at all. I'm not really sure right now. We'll see."
Asked whether she had anything for the sceptics who doubt that she could handle either the far heavier NASCAR machines or the length of the schedules run by both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, even suggesting that she would be prepared to start at the secondary level if necessary.
"I used to be more intimidated by the length of the season, but I spend so very little time at home and am always on the road," she insisted, "I'm much less intimidated by that.
"I believe in my ability. Any time I've been tested and put in a car, in something I've never driven before, I've always done really well. It's just going to take some getting used to.
"A while ago, when I started thinking about the future and what I was going to have a look at, I definitely thought you'd go straight from the top of one sport to the next. But, in [listening to] people's advice and what they think is right, they say take your time and they say you need to start a little slower than that. People want me to do well, if I ever do it, if I get to Cup, [and], at some point, you have to stop being naive and stop being stubborn and listen to people. So, if that's the route I go, I would be open to doing some lower formula stuff. I would take that advice."