Danica Patrick claims last year in NASCAR “felt like a grind”

Top female American motorsports star Danica Patrick says she became so “sad and negative” about her racing career last year that she’s looking forward to her life beyond racing once she retires after the Indy 500.

Speaking in a wide-ranging two-hour interview on this week’s Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Patrick talked about a vast range of issues in her life – including how disillusioned she’d become in her fulltime NASCAR career.

“I think everyone would expect with what I do, at the level I do it, that racing is the only thing I do, I love it so much I’ll do anything, I’ll drive every day – and the truth is, no,” said Patrick. “I like racing, but there’s a lot of things I don’t like about it too. I’m grateful for everything it’s given me, but if you were to ask me what I do outside of racing, I don’t go to the racetrack, I don’t watch races.

“In the last year, as far as an energetic space, it’s just so sad and negative a lot of the time. Racing in general, most of the time it’s miserable. You have some days that are good, but most of time it’s not happy. You’re not satisfied, you wish somebody would have treated you better out there, there’s so many things to be negative about, and just the grind of it.

“Everybody is worn out. You have to be really careful about the people around you, everybody has to be in a good mood not to spiral out of control, because you see each other three, four days every week for 40 weeks of the year, so you’ve got to be in a good space with people.

“A lot of negativity to some degree, and it feels like a grind a little bit. I felt like it wasn’t a space I wanted to be in anymore. I wanted to be in a happy space, doing things that bring me joy. I was noticing I was missing that – or wanting it more.

“It’s just life; just do things that make you happy.”

Godaddy.com confirmed yesterday that it will sponsor the ‘Danica Double’ – when she bows out of the sport in the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 later this year. Patrick was also confirmed as on the shortlist for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Indy plans. 

Bitter about UK racing experience

Patrick also spoke bitterly over her experience of racing in England, where she spent her formative racing years from the age of 16.

“They said I could learn more in one year than I could in five in America, and it was not true at all, but I did it anyway,” she said.

Answering the host’s light-hearted question about whether she enjoyed her time in the UK, and dealing with British people, she replied: “I might make people from England mad, but there’s not many that I have liked. Maybe it was just my environment, but no one kept in touch after I left. I lived there for three years.

“I grew a lot. I learned more there in one year than in five years in America from a personal standpoint, I went over and I was very open, unguarded, would tell anyone anything. I got hurt a lot, I hated men after that.

“I came home and my parents described me as very guarded and very cold. One of the hardest things in life is figuring out who you are, who you are as a person, instead of what culture has told you.”

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