USA TODAY US Edition

Sched­ule gripe

Dan­ica Pa­trick says the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series would be bet­ter with fewer races,

- Jeff Gluck @jef­f_gluck USA TO­DAY Sports COM­PLETE Q&A WITH DAN­ICA PA­TRICK Her sur­pris­ing chore, food pas­sion and more at nascar.usatoday.com.

Dan­ica Pa­trick has raced in both NASCAR and IndyCar. But if all things were equal about the two series — money, pres­tige, etc. — which one would she pre­fer?

That’s what Denny Ham­lin wanted to know, so he asked Pa­trick as part of USA TO­DAY Sports’ weekly in­ter­views with NASCAR driv­ers.

Pa­trick had a split an­swer: She said she pre­ferred IndyCar for the shorter sched­ule and the cars them­selves while she pre­ferred NASCAR for the rac­ing and the peo­ple.

If only she could com­bine the best of both worlds, right?

“I think if you re­duced the sched­ule, it would make a big dif­fer­ence,” she said of NASCAR. “We just don’t have any lives. This is it. Which is OK — I mean, it’s only for a cer­tain amount of time.

“But I’d imag­ine there are some peo­ple where the sched­ule be­comes more ex­haust­ing than the ef­fort they’re will­ing to put in any­more. So in­stead of re­tir­ing at 42, it might be 38 be­cause they’re just like, ‘ I’m done.’ You just get tired. I think NASCAR would be more ap­peal­ing by re­duc­ing the sched­ule.”

On the other hand, Pa­trick said she had found it hard to repli­cate the “pure, out-of-this-world sen­sa­tion of speed” that IndyCar of­fered.

The cor­ner­ing abil­ity of an In- dy car is some­thing a stock car will never have, she added.

IndyCar driv­ers used to race wide open around 0.75-mile Rich­mond In­ter­na­tional Race­way, where NASCAR raced last week­end.

“I re­mem­ber I went out to qual­ify at Rich­mond, and we had been tight a lot of times in qual­i­fy­ing, so my en­gi­neer ... put a turn of front wing in,” she said. “So I go out, and it turned so much and got so loose that I had com­plete op­po­site lock in Turns 1 and 2, and I caught it and kept go­ing.

“I hung that one on the wall of my bus for the rest of the year.”

 ?? AM­BER SEARLS, USA TO­DAY SPORTS ??
AM­BER SEARLS, USA TO­DAY SPORTS
 ?? BRIAN SPUR­LOCK, USA TO­DAY SPORTS ?? “I think NASCAR would be more ap­peal­ing by re­duc­ing the sched­ule,” Dan­ica Pa­trick says of Sprint Cup’s 36-race slate.
BRIAN SPUR­LOCK, USA TO­DAY SPORTS “I think NASCAR would be more ap­peal­ing by re­duc­ing the sched­ule,” Dan­ica Pa­trick says of Sprint Cup’s 36-race slate.

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