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Danica Patrick explains IndyCar’s intricate steering wheel, and it’s mind-blowing

For The Win logo For The Win 5/25/2019 Michelle R. Martinelli
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Anyone who thinks they could be a race car driver because they have a driver's license - and it's just like coasting down the highway but faster, right? - will probably change their minds after seeing just how ridiculous some steering wheels are.

Retired NASCAR and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick explained in detail just how complicated it really really is. As an analyst for NBC for the 2019 Indianapolis 500, Patrick brought a steering wheel on air with her recently and broke down the complexities of it, and it's kind of bonkers.

Seriously, look at this thing. It's like a video game controller on steroids, and you have to use it while driving well above 200 miles per hour and inches apart from other race cars and the wall.

File Photo © File Photo File Photo

YouTube screenshot: Motorsports on NBC

If you're a diehard racing fan, this likely doesn't come as too much of a surprise. But if you're a casual fan, new to the sport or are only somewhat aware the Indy 500 exists, this will blow your mind.

Replay Video

After seven seasons in IndyCar, Patrick raced for six full-time in NASCAR before returning to her open-wheeled roots for last year's Indy 500 for a career finale.

She explained how much things had changed between her 2011 and 2018 Indy 500s, including cars not having a clutch pedal anymore. Instead, the clutch is two paddles on the back of the steering wheel.

Patrick also broke down what some of the buttons on the front of the steering wheel do - everything from reverse to how to change the screen on the digital dashboard, in case drivers don't have enough to look at as they're pushing 230 miles per hour.

The 2019 Indy 500 is Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on NBC. The green flag is set to fly around 12:45 p.m. ET.


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