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From the Marbles

Danica Patrick nervous about racing in Japan next week

From The Marbles

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RICHMOND, Va. - As Danica Patrick winds down her commitment to IndyCar racing, she's still got a few dates left on her calendar, and one of them is next weekend in Japan.

It's that weekend that's got her concerned, but not for any reason related to the racing. The Sept. 18 IndyCar race at Twin Ring Motegi has been moved from an oval track to a road course because of issues resulting from this year's earthquake and tsunami.

As a result, Patrick questioned the safety of the race, expressing concern about radiation in the food and the possibility of earthquakes. "The [airborne] radiation seems like it's OK," Patrick said. "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."

Certainly, Patrick does have an obligation to race, and perhaps she's not thinking about what the race will mean to fans in that country; the series will not return next year. Still, the concerns about safe travel are valid, and all organizing bodies involved should do their level best to ensure safety. Regardless, it appears Patrick has no qualms about questioning the ability of IndyCar's organizing body to protect its drivers.

"I think there's a general concern for the safety of being over there," Patrick said. "I'm told IndyCar has an emergency plan if something happens and we need to all get out. Which is terrible to think about it." She noted that she and her husband will be packing supplies of their own, even though IndyCar has promised to handle such matters.

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