Allison Interviews Danica Patrick

Doing a deep dive with Danica Patrick, it was clear that rising to the top of a largely male dominated sport like racecar driving was as natural as breathing for her. The girl specializes in shattering glass ceilings and speaking her mind.

In this in-depth interview, Danica bares her soul to journalist Allison Kugel with strength and vulnerability, discussing her challenging upbringing with her father, early racing days, ignoring sexism on the track, relationship realizations, the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming feeling of not being good enough (yes, she’s dealt with imposter syndrome like the rest of us), and why she believes cancel culture is dangerous.

Retired from racing since 2018, Danica is focused on her aptly named podcast, Pretty Intense, and her new role as a vigneron and sole proprietor of Somnium Wine, cultivated at her vineyard in Napa Valley, California, as well as her Provence Danica Rose wine.

The following are excerpts from the latest episode of the Allison Interviews podcast with host, Allison Kugel, interviewing Danica Patrick. The full podcast episode is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify.

On the dangers of professional racecar driving:
“It is an awareness, but I don’t think it’s something you really think about a lot. I guess sometimes it’s contrast that gives you that perspective, in hindsight. I did the broadcast for the Indy 500 the year after I was finished, in 2019. I’m sitting on this pit row in the pit box with [sportscaster] Mike Tirico. The cars were coming down the front straightaway to take the green flag, and I remember I was having this moment where I was laughing and thinking this is such a different place to be [sitting]. Then I remember thinking, ‘They are so crazy.’ I knew how dangerous it was. From the vantage point of a spectator, I was able to let it get into my mind more, and into my body, and realize what the consequences were of a bad day, of a crash. Our perception is what creates our reality. If I would have had the perception of how dangerous it was, maybe it would have changed me as a driver, or changed how long I did it, or even if I did it. But I didn’t have that perception. There was an awareness, because I’m human and I’m not blind, but it wasn’t something that I put any huge amount of attention on.”

On sexism in male dominated motorsports:
“That’s such a common question, especially being a girl in a guy’s sport, but that is not what happened.  You know, any amount of it is human. Trust me, living in England and being a teenager with a bunch of teenage guys and having them gossip or make jokes; or you could tell they’re whispering about you… but it wasn’t about being a girl. That was about being that age, you know? Maybe part of it was about being a girl, but that’s not what I chose to focus on. What I chose to focus on was that I was at a really pivotal age. Teenage years, boys will be boys, and this is just human nature. If it didn’t happen at the racetrack, it would have been happening in school.

“Look, if someone is pinning me down for something that I’ve done that they don’t agree with, it’s like yeah, okay. But they’re also talking about me when I finish fourth, and you know what, they’re not talking about the guys when they finish fourth. You can’t go off and criticize the bad because it seems like they’re coming at you because of your gender, because then there are other things that are happening because of [your gender] that are great.”

On overcoming her mom and dad issues:
“There are many things that I’ve had to overcome. I’ve had to overcome the fear of not being good enough. I think that was a programming I got from a young age, from my dad pushing and pushing me. But if I had to choose between a dad that pushed me really hard and got me to where I am, or having a dad that let me just do whatever I wanted and was easy going and not hard on me, they both have consequences. I’m happy to get the one that I got, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have something to deal with. My dad pushed me a lot and I had this sort of narrative in my head that nothing was ever good enough. If anyone ever criticized me for being lazy or not trying hard enough, I would get defensive. I would get triggered by it, because that was a wound, that feeling that I wasn’t good enough. That could show up in perfectionistic ways in work or in my relationships. It’s something I feel like I’ve had to deal with, and I’ve had to learn how to take compliments and to own the good things I have done, and to acknowledge that they are enough, and that I am enough.

“Another one is the mom stuff. This sort of fear of abandonment, which lends itself to co-dependency and being afraid to be alone. Once I was alone, I was like, “Wow, there is a lot of empowerment here.” I realized that the way I would [previously] show up would be really not as empowered and not as confident.”

Thoughts on money:
“I always feel like the ceiling for things that are your job, but not your passion, at best is like an eight out of ten. There is no ceiling to what happens when you do something you are passionate about. All of the best stuff we have in this world comes from someone’s passion. When you set out solely with the goal of making money, I could almost guarantee you that it’s not going to last forever, or it’s not going to be that successful. Even if it is, it won’t feel good because that’s not what the human experience, your emotions, and your heart wants. Your heart wants something so much more expansive. Money is just energy. It’s just an exchange of energy.  That’s transactional. When you set the goal to change people’s lives, to inspire people, to give people hope, to make them smile, there is no end to that.”

On cancel culture:
“I’ve always chosen to focus on the good, and not the bad, and I think it’s given me a really good non-victim mentality. Playing the victim is like an epidemic, and it’s hindering to progress. There is really nothing good that comes from it. I think it’s just a dangerous place to be. I think that anytime you are focusing outside of yourself, is not the right focus.”

On the blind faith that led to her mega-success:
“I always had a lot of what I would call ‘blind faith,’ that it was going to work, and I say blind faith because there is no way it should have (laughs).  I’m not from a famous family of racing names. There wasn’t some fallback if I didn’t make it on my own in racing. It was just me. There really was no good reason why I should make it, other than the fact that I just really had a lot of confidence that it was going to work out.”

On the COVID-19 Pandemic:
“I find the whole thing weird. There are those people that fall on one side or the other really hard, and then there’s some people in the middle and I feel like I’m in the middle-ish, and I don’t really care about it. It’s literally here to create division. I don’t even watch the news, I don’t watch stuff about it, I don’t want it in my psyche. My reality has been so normal compared to, I’m going to imagine, most [people], because I don’t perpetuate it. I don’t worry about it and I don’t feed it. If someone tells me to put a mask, okay. There’s no point in getting a fight going, because if I don’t want to wear one, let’s say, or if you’re wearing one and somebody doesn’t have one on, like people will get upset about that. Every time you give something time and energy, you root it deeper into you.

“It is a fascinating thing that this will go down as, and I don’t want to get the words wrong, but it’s been said that this has been a very mismanaged situation that we have dealt with. I think the division ends up coming with having to make a decision for other people. That is a lot of what I think is being done here, is that it’s about other people and it’s not about you. Any time you put something outside of you, you are looking at it wrong. Do what is right for you. Everybody wants to be healthy, and the problem here is, whether you get a vaccine or you don’t get a vaccine, the same reason why you’re doing either one of those things, is because you want to be healthy.”

On creating her wine brands, Somnium and Danica Rose:
“The purpose of wine is about being present with the people that you are with. The goal is to get people to connect and to create memories together, to tell stories, to open up to one another. I want my wine to facilitate old school gatherings where you talk to each other, spend time together, make a meal and sit down at a table together. Communities are a hallmark of wellness.”

Apple Podcast

Spotify Podcast

SOURCE ALLISON INTERVIEWS PODCAST

About Journalist and Podcast Host Allison Kugel
Allison Kugel is a veteran entertainment journalist with more than three hundred long form celebrity and newsmaker interviews published and syndicated, worldwide. She is author of the memoir, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a life unhinged and on the record, and host of the new podcast, Allison Interviews, where listeners can tune in to hear the full, unfiltered conversations behind Allison’s print interviews. Listen and embed the entire podcast episode with guest Danica Patrick at Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, or Spotify. Follow Allison Kugel on Instagram @theallisonkugel and at AllisonInterviews.com.

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