It sounds like wanting to do it and being able to commit to the actual demands of a competitive 500 run are not making it sound like it will happen. Excellent interview with Zanardi. Well worth the read. A couple of snippets:
“Of course, yes, if you drive a car around Indy you’re kind of pushing luck a little bit, but I’ve done that before in my life (at other tracks) and the fact I had a bad accident doesn’t make me any more vulnerable than it was in the past.
“Actually, if I would break one of my legs it would only take a few minutes to fix it. In the past it was more complicated.”
“With a lot of sincerity and his heart in his hand Jimmy said, ‘As much as I would love to get you in my car to drive, you really have to do it with Chip,’” Zanardi said. “He probably knows that this is really also the way I feel. Can you imagine to do it again in a red car No. 4? That would be incredibly cool all for all the people that got a ticket to come watch me.
“Quite honestly, if ever I would decide to do something like this and Chip was interested, not just that it’s a good idea but a great idea, then of course I would do this.”
Zanardi stressed that the conversation “was purely hypothetical.”
“But if you ask me ‘Would you like to do something like the Indy 500?,’ of course I say yes. In a perfect world do you think you could still be competitive? I do believe I have the technical elements to once more do the job. But one thing is to have the elements, one thing is to have all the ingredients to takes to get the job done. Right now I honestly believe something is lacking.
“Therefore, there are other options, one of which may be waking up every morning and still have the freedom to decide what to do that day. When you get 45 years old and especially if you don’t have the necessity to earn the money it takes to put the macaroni on the table. You have to be sure you find motivation elsewhere. Right now, I’m using a lot of words to give the impression that I have no interest for such a great race, for a world to which I owe a lot because American racing really changed my life completely and not for the worse but to the better.”
Zanardi said it would be a compliment if asked to drive the 500’s pace car, but he noted potential trouble there, too.
“The problem is that I will start to spin (tire) donuts in front of the pack and all the drivers will not like that,” he said of his signature move following race wins.