Danica Patrick said she was pleased she gambled on fuel strategy and managed to lead the Indianapolis 500 even though her tactics ultimately did not pay off.
The Andretti Autosport driver finished 10th, but had led from lap 179 to 188 as she stayed out hoping that she might be able to stretch her final tank of fuel to the finish. Although she arguably had the pace in the closing stages to take a better result on a conventional strategy, Patrick felt the gamble had been worthwhile.
"It's the Indy 500, you've got to take a chance to win," she said. "If the yellow would've come out at the end there, it would've been good stuff, but it didn't.
"I'd much rather leave here finishing a little lower by taking a chance and having the option to win, than coming away with just a seventh or something and not having that chance. I'm up for it."
She said her car had gotten better and better as the race went on.
"It was mostly up, a little down. It started off pretty good, the car went loose at the end of the first run and in the second run, then I had understeer in the third run after taking too much wing out – it was what I asked for, so I was just trying to chase the car," Patrick said. "Then I think the track came in a little and once that happened the balance was OK and we were up in the mix."
Patrick has been strongly linked to a full-time move to NASCAR from next season, but said she hoped to be able to return for the Indianapolis 500 wherever she was racing in 2012.
"I hope so, I love this race," she said. "This is the best race in the world to me, so we'll see what happens."