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DATE News (chronologically)
09/15/11
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Danica burns bridges with race series that made her UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Can someone go tell the Princess to suck it and have fun in a top 20 car next year? That will be the funny thing about watching her in cup...her finishing position will be similar to her IndyCar finishes on road courses. Her and Dale Jr. are perfect 'backmarkers' together - all show and no go.  Brandon Stevens

09/15/11 Talk about burning your bridges with the series that made you.  After putting her foot in her mouth regarding radiation dangers in Japan this week, Danica Patrick took a cheap shot at Brazilian IndyCar drivers in an AP interview, which did not go over well on Twitter in the immediate aftermath.

"Oddly enough, I would say that the older I get, the more aggressive I get. Is that weird?" she told the AP in Richmond. "I didn't start like a Brazilian driver and go out 'Whoooo' and hit everything and figure it out later. I started out much more patient with other drivers and patient with myself and respectful.

"Now I'm much more of the attitude – and it's probably because I have fenders these days – but much more of the attitude 'Don't mess with me. I will hit you back,'" she said.

Tony Kanaan, who was Danica's teammate for years at Andretti Green and knows her limitations as a driver was furious and shot right back by saying she's good enough to be a Brazilian driver.

“She didn't start like a Brazilian because she is not capable of such a thing. Never will be,” Kanaan said on Twitter late Wednesday night.

He tweeted later, “I think I will start like a Brazilian this weekend. Hahahahahaha.”

Related SB Nation Article

It's called separation anxiety. Usually, it occurs in 17 and 18-year olds as they prepare to head off to college. It shouldn't be happening to a 29-year old. Unfortunately, Danica Patrick seems intent on burning as many bridges as possible before she leaves the IZOD IndyCar Series to grab the cash in NASCAR.

Patrick's concerns over traveling to Japan are fair - with the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant just 90 miles from the Motegi Raceway, one has a right to be concerned. However, some of Patrick's comments ignore the fact that six American cities presently possess higher radiation levels than those found at the track.

Her comments on a conference call prior to a NASCAR race at Richmond seemed ignorant, and rooted in the fact that Patrick has publicly stated she didn't want to run on the road course at Motegi after the oval was damaged in the March 11 earthquake. A week ago, Patrick said:

They say don’t eat beef, which probably means don’t eat vegetables or fruit. I read something about nine times the radiation in mushrooms. And there are earthquakes like every week, and it seems like every other week, there is a pretty big one. There has been a couple of six-and-a-halfs in the last month or two.

I think there is a general concern for the safety of being over there. I’m told that IndyCar has an emergency plan if something happens and we all need to get out, which is terrible to think about.

I guess it’s just …. We have compromised on the track, because we are racing on the road course and not the oval and IndyCar is not going back after this year anyway. It just seems like a lot of forced things to make it happen, but I’m just a driver and I show up where I’m supposed to show up.

Of course, Motegi should be a special place for Patrick; after all, it is the lone venue at which she has won in a seven-year career in the IZOD IndyCar Series. If there is one driver outside of Takuma Sato who should be thrilled about heading back to Japan - especially as a farewell for both herself and the series - one would think Patrick would be that driver.

Unfortunately, Patrick doesn't appear to feel that way, and it is largely suspected because the oval at Motegi would have given her a chance to win; on the road course, she is an afterthought. Of course, with NASCAR visiting just two road courses, Patrick has a chance to completely wipe out any memory of her struggles on the circuits.

And now, as she prepares to move full-time to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012, Patrick has continued to burn bridges in the INDYCAR community, taking on the Brazilian contingent that has achieved so much success in the last 30 years. In an interview with the AP, Patrick said:

Oddly enough, I would say that the older I get, the more aggressive I get. Is that weird? I didn't start like a Brazilian driver and go out 'Whoooo' and hit everything and figure it out later. I started out much more patient with other drivers and patient with myself and respectful.

Forget the fact that the driver Patrick appears to be targeting is Venezuelan (E.J. Viso), Patrick is plainly wrong. In the last 30 years, Brazilian drivers have captured six Indianapolis 500s and five CART/INDYCAR series championships, not to mention the achievements of drivers like Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello in Formula 1.

Patrick's totals? One win and 48 straight races in which she has been running when the checkered flags waved. In that 48-race span, Patrick has not won a race, averaging an 11th-place finish. She has never finished better than fifth in the points in any year, failing to backup the promise that saw her climb the points ladder each of her first five years in the sport. Since beginning her dalliance with NASCAR, Patrick finished 10th last year and not coincidentally, will finish in the same area this year (she presently sits 11th).

Open wheel has been very good to Danica Patrick, turning her into a household name following the 2005 Indianapolis 500. Patrick capitalized on her marketability at every turn, eventually becoming the face NASCAR had to have.

It's a shame that this is the tactic Patrick is using in her final month in the series. Though there is hope - eventually, even those teenagers who headed off to college appreciated what they had at home. SB Nation

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