Racecar driver Danica Patrick at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this month.
Racecar superstar and Illinois native Danica Patrick is having a busy year. Though she’s been racing for a long time, 2013 was the former Michigan Avenue cover star’s official rookie year as a full-time NASCAR driver—she finished up the season this past weekend, placing 20th at the Ford 400.
Among other things Patrick will tackle in the off-season, she’s hosting the American Country Awards alongside Trace Adkins on December 10. Fresh off the track, she answered a couple questions for us.
You’ve had a big year—what are you looking forward to next? DANICA PATRICK: Honestly, I’m looking forward to some downtime. I love the holidays and it will be nice to unwind away from everything and spend time with my family and friends. I’m very much looking forward to the American Country Awards. I think it’s going to be fun, scary, and exciting. I’ve become a big fan of country music, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of hosting.
How do you prepare for races? Any pre-race rituals? DP: Nothing too superstitious. We usually have a few hospitality visits before our mandatory drivers meeting two hours before the race. After that, I’ll go back to my motorhome, eat lunch, put my driving suit on, and then head out to driver introductions. In those last few minutes I hang out with my crew and try to stay loose and get ready for the race.
You’re a brand ambassador for Tissot—how did you get involved with the label, and what’s your go-to watch? DP: I’ve been with Tissot almost 10 years now. It’s one of the longest partnerships I’ve had and it’s been great for me and great for Tissot. Any Tissot watch is good for me, but I really like the T-Touch.
As an Illinois girl, do you have any Chicago favorites? DP: I’m a big Bears fan; I follow them pretty closely. Chicago is such a great city. There are so many good restaurants that when I’m there, I try to experience a new one each time. So I’m always open to recommendations!
I’ve heard that you like to cook in your downtime. Do you have a favorite dish to prepare around the holidays? DP: I’m pretty traditional around the holidays. I like the Christmas ham; we had it growing up and my family still does it today. Simple, but traditional.