Published June 01, 2011
As a competitor, Patrick acknowledges that leading a handful of laps in Sunday's Indianapolis 500 made her even more hungry for another shot to try to win Indy.
"Every time I've been to Indy it makes me want to be back even more," said Patrick, who led 10 laps in the late stages of Sunday's race before she had to make a late pit stop for fuel. "I was saying after the race that every time I come and I don't win, I get more mad every time. I think you just realize how close it can be so many times and that's what, I think, makes so many people want to come back to Indy."
Speaking to reporters during a break in an IndyCar test session at the Milwaukee Mile on Wednesday, Patrick reiterated she has not made any decisions about her racing future.
While Patrick's pending NASCAR-or-Indy decision for 2012 has been a major topic of conversation all season, she could find a way to do the Indy 500 while still making NASCAR the main focus of her racing career.
At least that's what one of her major corporate sponsors thinks.
In an interview with USA Today, godaddy.com CEO and founder Bob Parsons said he expects Patrick to try to run next year's Indy 500 even if she goes to NASCAR on a full-time basis. In a series of recent interviews, Parsons has said the company is ready to back Patrick in a move to NASCAR.
Asked Wednesday about Parsons' comments, Patrick said only that she's looking at all her options.
"We're just evaluating, and I'm fortunate that I have a great team around me that takes care of a lot of that and allows me to be able to just drive the car," Patrick said. "I don't have to worry about that stuff at this point. Once things get to a critical point where they need my decision-making, that's what we'll do, but I think at this point in time it's still pretty early stages."
But she still wants another shot at Indy after coming relatively close to winning.
"I'm not the only one that can say that," said Patrick, who became the first woman to lead the Indy 500 in 2005. "Lots of people can say, 'If the strategy would have played out this way, I would have had a chance.' But it's the Indy 500, and it's a game-changer when you win that one."
Patrick said she doesn't have a timeline for her decision, noting that deals for next season often aren't finalized until the end of the current season. That might be true, but the negotiating of such deals usually heats up in midseason.
"There are always circumstances to work around, but at the end of the day, what happens is I go to a place where I feel like I have a chance to win, where I'm happy and where I'm enjoying my life," Patrick said. "That's what I feel like helps me perform my best."
And Patrick says she's having fun in her limited NASCAR Nationwide Series experience.
She finished fourth in the Nationwide race at Las Vegas on March 5. She'll return to the series Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway, her first NASCAR race since crashing at Bristol on March 19.
"It seems like it was about 10 years ago, especially after these last few weeks," Patrick said. "My last mile and a half (track) was Vegas, and that was a good result. I don't know if there will be another top-five along the way. That would be wonderful. But I think that for me, it's still sticking with that top-15, I think, is a good goal for me."
On the IndyCar side, Patrick is looking forward to the series' return to Milwaukee on June 19. The historic track had been taken off the schedule because of past promoters' financial problems.
"I complained like heck that we didn't come here last year," Patrick said. "I said to all the people in the series that it's a mistake, that this is the best track, I think, for racing for us. There's really two very good grooves here."
Connect with AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins at www.twitter.com/chris(underscore)jenkins34