While MotoGP riders have been vocal in their concerns about racing in Japan due to possible risks from radiation resulting from the earthquake that struck the country in March and caused damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant, IndyCar drivers have been notably quiet on the subject. That ended Friday when Danica Patrick admitted she is concerned about traveling to Japan for the Sept. 17 IZOD IndyCar Series race at Twin Ring Motegi.
"I don't want to make anyone mad, but heck yeah, I'm concerned,” Patrick told USA Today at Richmond, where she is taking part in this weekend's NASCAR Nationwide Series race. “MotoGP has made a big fuss about going there, and their race got delayed [from April to October -Ed.], and is still after ours next weekend.
They [MotoGP] had a study done that seemed it was relatively safe. The radiation seems OK. I'm concerned about the food, to be honest. They say don't eat beef, which probably means don't eat vegetables and fruit. I read something about nine times the radiation in mushrooms so far out of Fukushima in that area. And there's earthquakes every week. It seems every other week there's a pretty big one. There's been a couple 6.5s in the last month or two.
“I think there's a general concern for the safety of being over there," she added. "I'm told IndyCar has an emergency plan if something happens and we need to all get out. Which is terrible to think about. I guess it's that we've compromised on the track, (and) IndyCar isn't going back after this year, anyway. It just seems like a lot of forced things to make it happen. I'm just a driver and I show up where I have to show up.”
Patrick said she and her husband would be packing as much food and water as possible for the trip. “I feel like [IndyCar] should be responsible for all that, but I'm not going to rely on them,” she said.