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It's all talk, Danica isn't leaving IRL
[Editor's Note:  We all know Danica Patrick won't ruin her career by moving to another series and then failing miserably, an almost certainty, yet we will see these sort of articles every week up to the time she re-signs - call it free publicity for the IRL.]

Talk of Patrick leaving will be free publicity for IRL all year
Danica Patrick. Contract year. They're intertwined for the immediate future.

Patrick expects that question to pop up at every stop on the IndyCar Series' April-October caravan just as that question of when will she win her first race did. Patrick, who answered the latter last April at Twin Ring Motegi in her 50th start, will use the unfolding season as a reply regarding her auto racing future.

Patrick, the first female to win a major closed-course auto race, enters her third season with Andretti Green Racing and fourth overall in the series next week at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

"For me, in my career, I have to be in a situation where I can do well, because that's what drives the rest of it," says Patrick, who as of early this year is being represented by IMG. "I think all (I) care about is winning races and running up front. It's always good to do well when you're in a contract year, but people who are in the business are aware of what I'm capable of and they pay attention for more than just a couple of races or a half a season to see what I'm doing. I would hope more of my career would speak that just this year.

"It is one more thing on the plate and I'm happy to say when there are more things going on it seems I'm able to thrive on that and do well. Like a few years when the contract came up there were things to talk about and there will probably be more this year."

Patrick, who turned 27 on March 25, finished a career-best sixth in the '08 championship on the strength of 10 top-10 finishes in 17 races (running at the finish in 15). Overall, she has 36 top 10s and three pole starts in 64 events.

"As more experience is taken in and I get more comfortable with the simple things like what we're doing today or how the races unfold, it becomes a few less things to worry about each year," she says. "The bottom line is, especially starting last year when Champ Car (drivers) came over, it's more challenging. I felt my road course racing had improved and had a couple of front-row starts (in 2007). All of a sudden last year it was 'Oh, you have to kick it up another notch.' '' More at IndyCar.com

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