Turns out Danica Patrick isn’t quite as much like the honey badger she once playfully suggested.
Unlike the honey badger made famous recently by a viral video that insists “honey badger just don’t care,” Patrick said Friday she does care about performance and meeting fan expectations, and that plus other factors led to a bad case of burnout after Daytona.
“I just feel I spread myself too thin at Daytona,” Patrick said in response to questions at a news conference at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, “It was two weeks of physical and emotional drain.”
“I just think the whole thing got to me,” she said. “And then I came home and dealt with other issues that took conversations and emotional energy as well and didn’t give myself time off. Usually when I get tapped out and exhausted I do whatever I want to do and getting mad is one of those things. And when I get mad I don’t get mad at anyone, I just get mad at myself. I wasn’t mad at the team; I wasn’t mad at Tony or anyone; I was just mad at myself and -- well it just doesn’t matter, I was mad.”
Patrick said she needs to keep her own expectations in check while also trying not to put too much pressure on herself to please her legions of fans.
“I think I need to remind myself every now and again of really where the expectations levels should be,” she said. “Where mine should be, and I can’t let all of the exposure and hype and hope -- and I am serious when I say hope to do well -- I can’t let that be something that makes me think I have to do well. I think that got to me a little bit. Especially coming from Daytona and having such disappointing results.”
She said she still cares about results, but just needs to make sure her expectations remain realistic for a driver in her first full year of Nationwide competition.
“Everyone (her fans) wants to see me do well and I want to do for them,” said Patrick. “I want people in the stands who are holding my flags and wearing my t-shirts and hats to have a good reason to cheer, and I let it get to me a little bit.”