Setting: U.S. Capitol conference room.
Event: A briefing on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Bona Fides: IndyCar and NASCAR driver; third-place finisher at the ’09 Indy 500; occasional men’s-magazine pin-up.
What she wants:For everybody to wear orange — the official color of her Drive4COPD campaign — and learn the symptoms and risk factors of the lung ailment.
How she looked: Like the really, really attractive girl-next-door, reports our colleague Aaron Leitko. Orange sheath dress, naturally.
How she sounded: Confident and tough but personable. Delivered the stats sans cheat sheet and with a personal touch, describing her grandmother’s death from the disease.
On message: When a reporter fished for some off-topic chitchat — “If you could teach any politician to race, who would it be?” — Patrick shut her down and deftly veered back onto the lung-disease track. “You could teach the president, but he doesn’t ever drive,” she said. “So, being here for COPD is more effective than teaching them how to drive.”