Patrick deserves more respect ahead of final Indy 500 - Castroneves

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves says that "amazing talent" Danica Patrick does not get enough respect, ahead of her final career race this weekend

Patrick deserves more respect ahead of final Indy 500 - Castroneves

Patrick will complete her motorsport farewell with the Indy 500, driving for Ed Carpenter Racing, after finishing a disappointing end to her NASCAR spell at the 2018 Daytona 500.

She qualified comfortably inside the Indy 500's 'Fast Nine' and qualified seventh for her final race and has improved throughout the Month of May.

Castroneves believes that she should be held in higher regard.

"Not enough people give enough credit to her," he said.

"She's not only stayed away from IndyCar [from] so many years, and come back, not only to be in a race, but to be in the Fast Nine, it shows that she's an amazing talent.

"She opens so many doors for so many young ladies, young girls, to become a racecar driver.

"Especially now, they have equality to fight with the guys. I tell you what, in auto-racing, it couldn't be more equal. She is the one that opened the door for them."

Castroneves added that Patrick's retirement decision is "courageous", and that he would struggle to call time on his own career.

"Courageous for her, as well, for making the decision to stop," he said.

"I don't know if I have that courage to do it - good for her.

"I will try and make her last 500 as hard as I can, for sure it's an honour to be sharing the track with her all the years that I did."

>>>> Autosport picks the Indy 500 favourites

Patrick: No career regrets

Patrick's NASCAR switch was high-profile and she admitted to missing being "relevant" as she felt she was in IndyCar.

Her best result in NASCAR was sixth at Atlanta in 2014 and she qualified on pole for the '13 Daytona 500 in what turned out to be a difficult chapter in her career.

When asked if she had any regrets, Patrick said: "One of my favourite statistics is the fact that I'm one of a short list of drivers that have led both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500.

"I couldn't have that if I didn't [switch to NASCAR].

"There were some high points in NASCAR. It wasn't a complete failure by any means. I mean, having a Daytona 500 pole is cool.

"Also coming back and having this be my final race, it wouldn't have been possible if I would have finished up in a normal way.

"Normally, when you choose your retirement, you finish up at the end of a season.

"I would have finished up in NASCAR. It would have been over at Homestead [in 2017]. That's how it would have gone.

"Also, the fact that it kind of felt like it wasn't really finished properly, that's what led me to think: 'What else can I do to finish it up?'

"That also brought me back here. It wouldn't be so dramatic if I wasn't gone for seven years. It's kind of made the story what the story is."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Danica Patrick , Helio Castroneves
Author David Malsher
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