An undercooked steak in France left a bad enough taste in Danica Patrick’s mouth that she avoided the country for years.
"I was just, like, miserable and people weren't very nice."
Patrick, 36 had moved to Europe as a teen to pursue her professional driving career and said she once got sick after a Parisian restaurant refused to cook her meat long enough, but that a recent trip changed her opinion.
"So the French had a reputation in my mind. Then I went back this time and the people were so nice and the food was so good and the city was so beautiful,” she told the Associated Press.
"I just had a totally different experience and I think that one is maturity playing a role, and two, you know when you're financial position changes and your ability to do more things opens up, that probably helps a little from a practicality side."
The retired Indycar and NASCAR driver had a similar change of opinion about England, which was her home at the time, and where a second place finish at the prestigious Formula Ford Festival helped launch her career.
"England was the place that I didn't really like and I had a lot of resentment for it," Patrick said. "Then I get back to London and the people are nice the food's really, really good and it's a really cool city.”
Patrick, who will return to the Indy 500 this year as an analyst for NBC, said she doesn’t miss racing.
"No. No I don't. I'm being really honest," Patrick said. "I'm not someone who looks back on things and has a lot of regret. I'm really not. Anytime anybody asks me if I could change anything, what would I change? Well, I'm just not the kind of person that really thinks like that. You know, I (raced) it for 27 years and life is so short and there's so much to experience and so much to do. I spent a lot of time racing and now I can spend time doing other things."
Patrick has put her athleisure clothing line Warrior by Danica Patrick, on hold and is taking a break from writing after promoting her fitness book “Pretty Intense” last year.
"I'm an optimist who thinks things will work out and even though they can be scary along the way, but I really felt strong enough to make the decision to retire and move on and jump into these other projects I have," she said. "You don't want to be half-hearted going 200 mph. The intention was that I wanted to travel and I wanted to be able to be able to just take a weeklong trip ... plan events in the summer that are really cool, go to concerts."
The Associated Press contributed to this report