After the “soft launch” of her Indianapolis 500 program with Ed Carpenter Racing via an apparently inadvertent admission during a press conference at Daytona on Wednesday (pictured), Danica Patrick spoke more about the deal in an interview with Indianapolis TV station WRTV.
“I’m super excited to run for Ed,” Patrick told WRTV’s Dave Furst. “He’s obviously been a great competitor over the years. We’ve raced with each other a ton. Part of that relationship also came from Matt Barnes, who works for him, his head of engineering. He was my engineer back in 2009 (with Andretti Autosport). We finished fifth in the championship.
“Matt and I are very like-minded to kind of go for things. I’ve kept in touch with him since I left IndyCar. Between Ed and having a great team and always being competitive, qualifying really well, having fast cars and Matt being involved, it seemed like the perfect option.”
In a separate interview with FOX59 in Indianapolis, team boss Ed Carpenter confirmed Patrick’s place on her team, while acknowledging his surprise at its revelation.
“I’m excited,” Carpenter told the station’s Chris Hagan. “I wasn’t planning on talking about it [Wednesday night]. It interrupted Valentine’s plans a little bit, but excited nonetheless. I’m hoping Danica has a good Daytona 500 and then we can all get focused on having a great month of May together.
“We’ve seen what happens when people come back [to race in the Indy 500], whether it was when Kurt Busch came [in 2014] or [Fernando] Alonso last year. And Danica’s return to Indy is going to be as big, if not bigger, than those other stories. I think it’s exciting to be a part of it, to be a part of her history as her farewell to racing in moving onto the next phase in her life. We’re excited for it and we’re building some fast cars hopefully.”
Carpenter added that he was confident Patrick would be competitive in her first Indy 500 since 2011.
“She has high expectations; we have high expectations, as usual,” Carpenter said. “When we look at running extra cars, we always want it to be a good situation and Danica certainly fits the bill there. She’s led laps, almost won the race before. She has a great track record there, so we’re excited to have her as part of the team.”