Continued from part 1 Q: My question to you is about your tie-in with Tissot watches. My husband bought me one for Christmas last year, which I really like. DANICA PATRICK: Oh, good. What kind of watch did you get? I know it was Tissot,...
Continued from part 1
Q: My question to you is about your tie-in with Tissot watches. My husband bought me one for Christmas last year, which I really like.
DANICA PATRICK: Oh, good. What kind of watch did you get? I know it was Tissot, but was it the T-Touch?
Q: We got your watch.
DANICA PATRICK: OK, great. Cool.
Q: We got your watch. So my question is, do you still have your tie-in with them? If so, are you looking to do different designs for them in the future?
DANICA PATRICK: Absolutely. I just met with them today here at the track in Indy. I got some new watches. We talked about some of the ideas moving forward for the year, what we want to do. There's some new personnel in there and there's some new, fresh approaches to what we're going to do. And I think we really want to take the relationship to another level and really go after more mainstream things and get into more magazines and get into more of the fashion side of things and just really make the relationship more prominent.
As I'm actually the only female ambassador for a male watch really, I think that it's a cool thing. We're definitely going to keep doing more and more.
Q: Are you doing a male version of the watch?
DANICA PATRICK: Well, actually they usually -- like this year, it really is I think a male watch. I like the larger watches. The T-Touch watches are really unisex. Like I said, I tend to wear bigger watches anyway. So I wear sort of their biggest watches. They're guys' or they're girls' really. It goes across the board. My new one this year could be worn by either.
Q: How do you feel about the qualifying at Indy? Do you have a problem with qualifying? You've done fairly good in the past.
DANICA PATRICK: Well, then that would sort of mean that I don't really have a problem with the qualifying (laughter).
I think it was such a good concept with the four-lap average that we carried it over to all the other oval races that we go to. I think it's a really cool thing. I think that it shakes things up a little bit. For instance, last weekend at Kansas with the four-lap average, my first lap was a little bit slower than all the rest of them. As a result, I missed a spot on the grid because of that.
So, I think that the four-lap average is really cool, and I like it here at Indy. You definitely got to get going, get up to speed, and it really lends to having a good car from the get-go and a good car from the time you start the car and head on out there. I think it's good for the fans, too.
Q: How is your mindset when you're the only one on the track trying to go the fastest?
DANICA PATRICK: I don't know. You don't really think of it much different. The whole week you're really kind of trying to find clear track for yourself. It's really just more sort of a continuation of what you've been doing in the whole week. And then you get the excitement of being able to see exactly what it does.
Q: You seem to have an affinity for Indianapolis. You've had good results there. What is it about that track that suits you or your driving style?
DANICA PATRICK: I don't really know. I like it here. I enjoy it. I embrace the month. I have a lot of fun. What exactly makes me good here or whatever is subjective anyway I think if I do good or not.
I don't really know. The first year I came here, I took the advice from all the people around me, the people that have been here the most. The advice was to respect the track, to be patient, and I do that. So, you know, maybe that's part of it.
Q: You seem to do better on ovals than you do on road courses, even though I think your background was road racing.
DANICA PATRICK: It's funny. I would actually have to say that some of my best results really have come more from road courses actually. I had a second in Detroit in '07. I think I finished fourth or fifth or sixth at Sonoma. I had two front-row starts. I finished fourth I think last year at Sonoma, maybe fifth at Mid-Ohio. I just finished fourth at Long Beach. So actually some of my better results have been on the road courses, but my qualifying isn't quite as good.
I just think it's one of those areas that I haven't really mastered or gotten really good at. Part of it's because there's such incredible road course drivers in our series with (Scott) Dixon and (Dario) Franchitti, (Tony) Kanaan and Will Power, Helio (Castroneves), they're all really great on the road courses. So I've got my work cut out for me. When it comes to the race, it actually tends to go all right.
Q: When you were named to that Time Magazine top 100 influential people list, you put out a statement which you thanked the people around you for keeping you grounded. Can you go into that a little bit? Are you talking about your teammates, your husband...
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, I think I'm predominantly speaking about my family and the people closest to me that see me every day and help me every day, are a part of it all, know me for a long time. They're the ones that say, 'Look, you need to get out there and you need to sign, or you need to calm down, you need to do this.' They don't let me just be the boss. They're not 'yes' people. They're my family, and they're my closest friends. They're helping me the best that I can be.
I think that that's really what I mean when I say people that have helped keep me grounded. They just really are trying to help me be the best me.
Q: How much stock do you put in a list like that? A lot of big names on there. You beat out quite a few celebrities. How much stock do you put in that?
DANICA PATRICK: Oh, well, gosh, I mean, a lot. It's very nice. There was voting for it. Just with all the other things that I've done outside of the car and inside the car, it's making a difference. It's a real honor just to be thought of to be on the list, and then to make it and beat out such other amazing people. It's a real honor. I thank them very much.
Q: Don't take this personal, but were there any aero readings or downforce numbers on that hat you wore Saturday?
DANICA PATRICK: My derby hat (laughter)? I was running some low downforce because it was very uncomfortable. Like when you're sitting down at the table there, at the event, I had to look up so far that I had a headache from getting past the brim of my hat. I wouldn't describe it as a comfy setup.
Q: You came in Indy last year after having won a race. But would you say, other than that, you're off to your best start that you've had so far to your season?
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, I actually have to say this is probably one of the best starts. Even the one that we DNF'd in St. Petersburg, we were on a two-stop strategy. The other people that were on a two-stop strategy finished first, second, third, fourth, fifth. We were one of them. It would have been a top-six finish if I were part of that two-stop strategy. I think we would have been looking at three top-five finishes and doing well in the championship. Other years in the past, we've not done as well.
So I would agree. I'd say so, yeah. I felt really good about my oval race in Kansas. The racing was close. I was pushing. I was happy. I was one of the first people to jump up high at the beginning of the race and pass around the outside. That was one of the things we worked really hard to get to.
Q: Other than the obvious answer, to finish first after 200 laps, what are the things you need to do this year to win the Indy 500?
DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think that it would be the easiest to start in the front and just stay there. I think that we're going to obviously work hard to qualify well. I think it's a matter of, in the past the qualifying's been reasonably good, but it's a matter of staying there. I think that's going to be the real focus, is just to not drop back and to not lose positions on the track on starts or restarts, to stay on top of the car throughout the race and keep up with the way that the track is changing, and then to have really clean pit stops. I think that's going to have to be a really, really big focus for me, getting in and out of the pits and getting in and out of the box at full speed all the time. If we do those things well, I hope we can qualify well and then I believe that we can stay there. Then it will be a shootout in the end.
There's no doubt that you do have to have a fast car to win the Indy 500, because it usually comes to that last sort of 20 laps or five-lap shootout where it's all about speed.
Q: I wanted to ask you about what I call the kinder, gentler Danica Patrick.
DANICA PATRICK: Yes (laughter).
Q: Versus the first race you were trying not to be mad all weekend, then (Raphael) Matos took you into the boards at St. Petersburg, you didn't smack him like we thought you might. Where is that all coming from?
DANICA PATRICK: Is it OK, do you think? Do you think this is OK that I'm a little bit more calm?
Q: Yeah. I was just wondering... .
DANICA PATRICK: I hope I'm not boring anybody (laughter).
I've learned from the past. Look, the emotional Danica is still there, but there's a time and a place. The time and place is not every weekend. So it's just easier. I think I always felt in the past like I had to prove to people that I cared and that I wasn't happy being fifth or 12th or something by being mad. It just doesn't really pay off, and it turns people off. It's a lot easier and a lot more fun to be relaxed. It's all bunnies and rainbows around here (laughter).
Q: I also wanted to ask you, you have a lot of fans. Obviously, there's a lot of younger fans, especially girls. Do you think having all those fans affects what you do and some of your decisions? Are you thinking, 'What are my fans going to think about that?'
DANICA PATRICK: I don't think in the moment I think about them. I have been lucky enough to be myself and be just really true to my character and personality the whole time. But I'd say in the decision-making process when it comes to doing articles or interviews or photo shoots or anything, I do think about what's good and what's bad and what's right and what's wrong, kind of just where I want to take my brand and what direction I want to go with it.
I always do the things that I really want to do and have fun with. But if I'm on the fence about it, or if it's really not going to be good for image, then we just don't do them. I don't take for granted that little kids follow me and that I have a following from them, and I respect that. I want to do a good job for them, and part of that is being a good role model.
MODERATOR: All right, Danica. Thanks a lot for joining us. Good luck this month.
DANICA PATRICK: Thank you. Bye.