Danica Patrick’s return to the track that propelled her to superstardom in 2005 hit a minor delay after a single slow installation lap, as she prepares for her final race.
A suspected water-temperature issue sent her Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet crew back to the garage with the vibrant green #13 GoDaddy-sponsored entry.
Patrick, who hasn’t raced in the Indianapolis 500 for seven years, has announced that her run in NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in February and IndyCar’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 this month are the final races of her career.
The 36-year-old from Roscoe, Ill., will be on track with both her fellow Refreshers – Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) and Jay Howard (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) as well as this morning’s Rookie graduates, Robert Wickens, Matheus Leist and Kyle Kaiser.
However, the session started with her crawling the ECR car around the iconic 2.5-mile oval for just one lap.
Team owner Carpenter put a positive spin on the delay, telling Katie Hargitt of IndyCar.com: “I think it’s probably good to go out and do an install check. Everything feels a little different, get out of the car for a minute, and think about it.
“We just saw one little thing in the installation lap that looked a little odd so we wanted to go back to the garage to check everything’s in tip-top shape and then we’ll be back out and get on with the program.”
Asked how long he expected the delay would be for his #13 car, Carpenter said: “I don’t expect it to be long… 30mins tops. So hopefully the car will be rolling back out here fairly quickly.”
UPDATE: Patrick returned to the track 1hr20min into the 3hr session.