"Every two years, my life changes a lot. I couldn't imagine what's going on now two years ago," she said. "The only thing I plan long term on are things outside of the car, outside interests or things I want to do with my husband." Patrick, now 29, married Paul Hospenthal in 2005.
She insisted that she doesn't plan to continue racing after she turns 40 and has ideas about becoming a clothes designer after she walks about of pit road for the last time. "I really enjoy [designing]," she said. "To have a clothing line would be really fun. I'm kind of creative like that anyway. I'll need to learn how to draw!" And she'll also need to protect and grow the Danica brand in the meantime.
She certainly doesn't see herself going into team management, as Sarah Fisher has done. "I like racing cars and the competition and the process of finding speed, but I'm not so much a gearhead. I mean, I watch E! News
!" said Danica.
But she's been warned by former Indy 500 champion Jimmy Vasser that "nothing compares to the ups and downs of racing and the emotional roller coaster that you're on," and that it can become addictive and seductive. "To get that same emotion and adrenaline, [owning a team] is what he needed to do. So I guess I can understand that."
Perhaps it's not being a "gearhead" that is causing her to hang back from making the final jump into NASCAR, which notoriously relies on the driver playing a major part in technical feedback to improve the car during the weekend and even during the race event itself. Danica admitted this is not her strong suit.
"I abandoned ship on trying to understand the car mechanically,” confessed Patrick about the #7 Tissot/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Impala that she runs for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports team. "I'm starting to understand it better, but over time [my crew chief Tony Eury Jr.] has learned with me what changes I tend to like and what changes I don't like."
"We'll just see what she decides to do," said her car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. "She just has to choose what she wants to do. What is right for her. What she thinks she will be happy doing. Just make the right choice for herself, that is what is important."
And in the meantime, no one - not media, fans, Earnhardt or even GoDaddy.com's deep-pocketed CEO - is going to force her hand and rush her into anything.