DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As she approaches age 30, Danica Patrick is going conservative.
Well, sort of.
She's still attempting a bold career move by trying to win Sunday's Daytona 500. In her personal life though, she barely ever whips around anymore in her silver Lamborghini Gallardo. (Retail price: about $202,000. Horsepower: about a million.)
"I don't drive it much at all really," Patrick said.
The problems are myriad: potholes, parking and nowhere to put her black coffee when she's running errands in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she lives with her husband.
"I just needed something more practical," Patrick said. "It sounds stupid but there are no cup holders in my Lamborghini.
"So what's a girl to do?"
This probably should've been evident when she bought the car back around 2007. The horsepower clouded her view.
"I got it originally because I had a 645 BMW and it was a convertible," she said. "It was the first car I ever bought because I had always gotten cars through teams or deals."
The BMW was nice enough, just not nearly fast enough. She needed more power, which isn't easy to find.
"To take a step up from a 645 was tough," she said. "I went and tried out an Aston Martin Vantage because I thought [it] was a cool-looking car."
"Slow," she said with a laugh. "Not good enough off the line."
(Note: Aston Martin claims the Vantage V12 goes from 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds. So slow is a relative term.)
"I had all these criteria levels," Patrick continued. "So to take it to the next level I had to make a real jump. There was no good in-between. It was just a matter of what look was better. So to kick it up a notch the Lamborghini was it."
For awhile she drove the Lamborghini everywhere. To dinner. To the store. Even on a fateful trip that convinced her this might not be the best "daily drive," as she calls it: to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport in 2009 to pick up her sister, Brooke.
"The last straw was probably having to pick up my sister at the airport in a Lamborghini," Patrick said. "I couldn't have felt more stupid. I'm serious. I felt so stupid.
"She's got bags. I don't have a trunk. I've got a briefcase-sized spot in the front of the car. I have no space."
Brooke had to pile the bags on her lap. She even had her dog with her.
"It just didn't work very well," Patrick said, still laughing.
So in came the Mercedes ML63 AMG, a mid-sized luxury SUV (retail: about $92,000).
"Once I went with the 'daily driver,' I just went past the point of needing a Lamborghini," Patrick said. So now the Lambo is parked in the garage most of the time.
And if an Aston Martin is "slow," then a ML63 AMG is what, molasses? Actually, while driving it a few years ago she got nabbed by cops going 57 in a 40, landed a speeding ticket and, famously, an opportunity to attend traffic school.
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In the annals of racers getting speeding tickets, this was tame. Last year Kyle Busch was ticketed in North Carolina for going 128 in a 45 zone while driving a yellow 2012 Lexus LFA.
Patrick said she had always gotten out of other tickets, even once when she doubled the speed limit in the Lamborghini.
Just not this time.
"I tried to pull the race car driver card," Patrick explained to the New York Daily News at the time. "I said, 'I'm a race car driver. I'm not going to hurt anyone out here. I know what I'm doing.' He said, 'I don't know who you are and I don't care.'
"But then it was on the news that night."
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