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SportsMotor Racing

Danica Patrick hears boos after poor qualifying at Indy

From the Associated Press:

INDIANAPOLIS - (AP) — Danica Patrick has experienced a new sensation at the Indianapolis 500 — getting booed.

IndyCar's most popular driver heard fans' displeasure Saturday when her comments blaming a poor qualifying performance on her car's setup were broadcast over the racetrack public address system.

Patrick, by far the leader in merchandise sales and visibility in the series, appeared upset when she talked about the reaction.

"I say one confident thing out there, that it's not me, and everybody boos me," she said. "I don't know, maybe they were booing me before, but some of them were probably cheering for me before. I'm not a different driver than I was five years ago."

The fans objected to her comments, but her team didn't.

"You take one on the chin, but maybe you had it coming this time," Tom Anderson, Andretti Autosport's senior vice president for racing operations, said. "All you can do is turn the other cheek and just get back to work."

Patrick averaged 224.217 mph on four laps in her only attempt and ended up qualifying 23rd for the May 30 race. The team didn't plan to send her out for a second run, but nervousness set in as her time began falling down the field. She was in line, waiting for another shot when time ran out.

"I think we underestimated, or I underestimated what it was going to take to make the top 24 there," Anderson said. "Speeds were up a little bit. Not the starting position we wanted, for sure. Sometimes, you just need a day away from the track to analyze it."

Patrick was shaking and holding back tears after the qualifying run. She said adjustments on the car throughout the week were poor.

New York Sports