Danica flags down rumour

Danica Patrick is in town for the Toronto International Auto Show this week. (Sun Media/Alex...

Danica Patrick is in town for the Toronto International Auto Show this week. (Sun Media/Alex Urosevic)

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

Danica Patrick would like to thank the proposed American Formula One team for its interest in having her drive for it next season, but she really would have preferred a heads up before anything was announced.

Patrick then denied she's about to jump to the F-1 circus as was announced by the USF1 team earlier this week in London.

"Did you see any quotes from me in that press release?" she asked yesterday as she was promoting ticket sales for this summer's Honda Toronto Indy at the International Autoshow.

The 26-year-old darling of the vroom-vroom set, in fact, was more than a little perturbed at USF1 boss Ken Anderson for putting it out there that she was going to part of the program.

"I guess they were looking for publicity," Patrick said. "But nobody from that group has contacted me or my agent.

"The first I knew about it was when I read the (Associated Press) story from London."

Not that she isn't flattered.

After all, it's the dream of every open-wheel race car driver from the time they get fitted for their first fire suit to get to F-1. Patrick even left her Roscoe, Wis., home at the ripe old age of 16 to go to England in the hopes of experiencing the kind of open-wheel competition not available to kids in North America.

Homesickness, however, brought her home after two seasons.

"You know that when I came back home in 2002, the Toronto Indy was my very first race," she said. "I was doing a test in the Barber Dodge series that ran at the Toronto Indy in those days. I must have done all right because I ended up getting a contract through the end of that season. I still have lots of goals and aspirations and F-1 is still out there to be tried."

Patrick said that her life pretty much has been a whirlwind since she first gained international acclaim by finishing fourth in her first Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and then becoming the first woman to lead a lap at the 2.5-mile Speedway the next year.

"I can't believe I am going into my fifth year of Indy Car racing," she said.

It took her until last year, however, before she broke into the win column, with a victory at the Honda Indy Japan at Twin Ring Motegi.

Patrick believes that with seven-time Toronto Indy winner Michael Andretti guiding her Andretti-Green No. 7 Honda, she'll be a contender for an Indy Racing League championship this season.

"We have the resources to do it," she said. "I have a good feeling about this season."

She also believes that Toronto will have a big part to play in that success, if it comes.

"Toronto has always been a favourite place for me to race and just to visit," she said. "It's a city where fans know and are fans of open-wheel racing."

So it should not come as a surprise if she's on the podium come July 11 at Exhibition Place.


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