Danica Patrick admitted she was shocked to be jeered by sections of the Indianapolis Pole Day crowd while explaining her frustration at the performance of her Andretti Autosport car.
Patrick has been a frontrunner at Indy on every previous appearance, but has struggled for speed from the start of practice this year and will start a lowly 23rd after what she described as a "scary" qualifying run.
"I think it was absolutely awful," she said during an interview broadcast on the track's public address system. "I wasn't flat the last two laps, and I was scared to death flat the first two. And it didn't get better.
"The problem is, is that the car can be fast. You trim it out and it accelerates, so there's no issue there. It's just that the balance and the car itself is so bad, we can't even trim it out to go faster. By the sounds of the trim numbers, I think we're pretty excessive anyway, but...
"I don't know. I'm very, very disappointed. I've never been bad here before. I've never been outside the top 10 on a finish or qualifying, so... it's not my fault. This car is not good."
Her final comments were met with boos from some of the crowd in the grandstands, a reaction that Patrick later said took her by surprise.
"I say one confident thing out there that it's not me, and everybody boos me," she said. "I'm blown away. These people, I mean, I don't know, maybe they all booed me before. I would think that some of them have probably cheered for me before, and I'm not a different driver than I was five years ago.
"I don't know if those people were here five years ago, but I got loose in [Turn] 1 and caught it and kept my foot down. So I can drive a loose car, but this is beyond."
The whole Andretti Autosport team has had a difficult Indianapolis so far, with Tony Kanaan crashing yesterday and John Andretti not fast enough to make the top 24. Both will attempt to get into the field on Bump Day today.
"I had to try to make something happen, and I will not give up trying to be fast," said Kanaan. "Tomorrow is another day, and we'll be ready to get everything we can. I'd love to be in the show right now, but we're not, so we can't worry about that."
Ryan Hunter-Reay had been a long way off the pace in practice, but managed to get 17th on the grid yesterday, just behind Andretti's top qualifier Marco Andretti.
"That is by far the best we've been and we had to get it so scary to get it there," said Hunter-Reay. "We did some radical stuff to it. It was degrading fast, but we hung on to it. I'm just glad to have qualifying behind us and now we can turn the page completely to next Sunday."