Don’t read too much into Danica Patrick’s seemingly aggressive foray into off-the-track ventures.
She says she’s not planning any kind of post-racing exit strategy.
Asked about that specifically Tuesday on the first day of the NASCAR preseason media tour at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina, Patrick responded: “Yeah, you’re wrong in thinking that’s the purpose. The things that I have done outside of racing that all really are happening because of racing are really just hobbies.”
Since the end of the 2016 NASCAR season, Patrick has launched a new clothing line and a fitness and healthy eating program through which she plans to document the journeys of people and eventually put them in a fitness/cookbook of sorts that will include recipes and also exercise tips.
“I’ve wanted a clothing line for 10 years,” Patrick said. “I felt like 10 years ago it seemed like everybody was doing it and I was like, ‘Gosh, everybody is doing it, but I really have a passion for this, so, hey, you know what, I’m in no rush. Let’s make sure it’s the right opportunity when it comes along.’ “
That opportunity came when Patrick approached a company that had produced an earlier product line for actress Alyssa Milano. Patrick merely wanted to talk to them about ways to increase her T-shirt sales at the race track, but the conversation eventually evolved into much more.
Her athletic-apparel clothing line, “Warrior by Danica,” recently launched on the Home Shopping Network.
As for the combination fitness/cookbook, Patrick said that was a no-brainer. As her many fans well know, she frequently keeps everyone up to date with what’s cooking at her house through social-media posts.
And she’s always eager to share a new yoga pose with fans.
“The book with recipes, I mean I cook like crazy. I cook all the time,” Patrick said. “Anybody who follows me knows that I do that, and I always have, so a lot of this stuff is really just easy and second nature.
“It’s more about putting pen to paper on what exactly I am doing, whether it be a workout or a recipe or what kind of styles I like, and sending those pictures to the designers. That’s more what it’s about, just following through on what do I do with these ideas and things that I do and making some of my hobbies turn into something bigger.”
So while she is enjoying all of that, she has no intention of devoting any less time or effort to her day job as driver of the No. 10 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing.
In fact, she says she intends to ramp up her efforts to improve performance – so she can at least come closer to matching the production of her SHR teammates, all three of which made the NASCAR playoffs last season while Patrick finished 24th in points for the second year in a row.
This year, Patrick has a new teammate at SHR in Clint Bowyer, who replaces team co-owner Tony Stewart as driver of the No. 14 car as the organization switches manufacturers from Chevrolet to Ford. Her other teammates are Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, and she is still continuing to work out the details of what she hopes will be a continuation of a primary sponsorship for her car by Nature’s Bakery.
“It’s a great thing when your teammates are fast because you know that there is potential, it’s just figuring out how you get there,” said Patrick, who failed to register a single top-10 finish last year for the first time since she started driving full-time in the Cup Series in 2013. “That’s the question that needs an answer and figuring it out is the challenge.”