Spotlight always on Danica

The illicit nude video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews highlights the problems of celebrity culture in the cyber-age, says race car driver Danica Patrick who believes a time will come when there will be limits on how much of a public figure’s private life should be open for all to see.

Danica Patrick describes her crash to crew members during a practice session in Edmonton Friday.

EDMONTON — The illicit nude video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews highlights the problems of celebrity culture in the cyber-age, says race car driver Danica Patrick who believes a time will come when there will be limits on how much of a public figure’s private life should be open for all to see.

But that may be some way off.

“I don’t think there’s getting away from it (the website saturation) right now,” Patrick said in an interview Friday on the eve of the Rexall Edmonton Indy.

“It’s not going to go away any time soon, probably not as long as I’m exposed in public and racing.

“But I would imagine there’s going to be a certain point in time where there’s probably going to be some sort of rules and enforcement as to the limit and the boundary line for what people are able to do and what they’re able to plug into their computer.”

That line was clearly crossed when Andrews, a 31-year-old sideline reporter for ESPN, was recently secretly videotaped naked in her hotel room with the images then uploaded to the Web.

The 27-year-old Patrick, a sporting sex symbol herself, had her own run-in with a cellphone camera last season.

A heated, occasionally four-letter trackside shouting match with rival driver Milka Duno became a YouTube sensation, prompting Patrick to apologize a week later, saying she needs to set a better example for her fans.

“We live in a very imperfect world but we are all as celebrities expected to be more perfect than ever, to not make mistakes, to not say the wrong thing, to not do the wrong thing,” she said.

“Anything you do is always criticized and looked at. It’s very hypocritical, but you have to learn how to cope with it.

“You just have to run that balance.”

Patrick made the comments prior to the first practice session for Sunday’s Rexall Edmonton Indy.

The native of Roscoe, Ill., is enjoying a strong season with Andretti Green Racing.

She is fifth in the overall points standings, 81 points back of leader Dario Franchitti with seven races to go including the Edmonton event (TSN, 3 p.m.).

She led 24 laps at Iowa, finished third at the Indy 500, and has finished in the top 10 in eight of the last nine races. Her performance on road courses has improved, with a fourth-place finish at Long Beach, Calif., in April and sixth two weeks ago at Toronto.

Some of the credit goes to having racing legend and team co-owner Michael Andretti take over the headset as her race strategist. But she said she’s also burning the midnight oil more on homework, analyzing the tracks, past performances and places to improve.

“There’s a lot of things that play into it (the success),” she said.

“I’m working hard off the track and just trying to better prepare for each race weekend.”

It’s been a tough season Andretti Green and Patrick’s fellow drivers Tony Kanaan, Hideki Mutoh and Marco Andretti. Considered one of IndyCar’s elite teams along with Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi, Andretti Green is not having a first-rank season.

All but Patrick are more than 100 points back of Franchitti, and an Andretti Green driver has not taken the checkered flag this year.

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