If you want to see photos of Danica Patrick doing yoga, doing CrossFit, hanging with boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or with their dogs Dallas and Ella, or eating crazy foods, you should be following her Instagram account.
What you will almost never find her posting, however, are photos related to her job as a NASCAR driver.
“I don’t really put a lot of stuff about racing on it because, quite honestly, it usually just pisses me off more than anything,” Patrick said Thursday afternoon during a press event at the U.S. National Whitewater Center for her primary sponsor, Nature’s Bakery.
“I don’t want to talk about (when I’m not doing well),” she said. “If people want to pay attention to it, they can look to you guys for how everything’s going; they can watch it on TV, they can follow it online – there’s tons of ways to see how it’s going. But there’s not a way to see the other side of me, and the other things that I enjoy doing, unless I put that out there. So I choose to use social media for purely joyful things, instead of the frustrations that the job brings.”
Patrick, who drives the No. 10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing, is currently 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings, and so far this season has only one Top-10 finish (seventh at the Can-Am Duel 2 in Daytona Beach in February).
Thursday’s event saw the 34-year-old doing what she’s been doing, well, a lot of lately: something active. She scaled some of the more advanced portions of the 30-foot climbing wall with what looked like relative ease, alongside fans Sam Bednarski of Utah and Jessica McFarlin of Illinois, winners of a Nature’s Bakery contest. Patrick later posted a photo on Instagram of her all geared up for a zip-lining tour.
“I’ve been more active on social media about putting out there the things that I do outside of the car, which are a lot to do with an active lifestyle, and healthy lifestyle,” Patrick said. “I mean, today is an appearance, it’s for a sponsor, we’re doing media … but I didn’t look at today and think, ‘Aw man, I gotta work.’ I looked at today and I was like, ‘Oh cool, I’m gonna like do some rock climbing.’ ”
As for her job behind the wheel? She’s anxious to earn a spot in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway – although she won’t know whether she’s driving this weekend until about 24 hours ahead of time.
To qualify, she’ll need to win one of the three Sprint Showdown segments at the track, or – if that doesn’t happen – she’ll need to get in via popularity contest: the Sprint Fan Vote, which will fill any remaining starting spots until the field reaches a minimum of 20 cars.
“I hope we can race our way in,” Patrick said. “That’s for sure what every driver wants to do if they’re not in the race; it’s the most honorable way to get in. But it’s not as though there’s not honor in getting in through the fan vote, because it just means that you’re resonating with the fans and they’re showing that they like you and appreciate you and want to see you race.”
Her odds are decent: Patrick has been voted into the All-Star Race two of the past three years.
Photo: Jeff Siner