(CBS) - After seven years of racing, Danica Patrick parked her IndyCar for the last time. She had been upbeat going into her last race as a full-time driver. But then a 15-car pileup turned the day into one of the darkest in the sport's history. In an interview after the crash, Patrick related what she saw of the catastrophic crash that ended up taking racer Dan Wheldon's life.
"It was like a movie scene which they try to make as gnarly as possible," Patrick said in a live interview on ABC (before the news of Wheldon's death). "It was debris everywhere across the whole track. You could smell the smoke. You could see the billowing smoke on the back straight from the car. There was a chunk of fire that we were driving around. You could see cars scattered."
A visibly shaken Patrick had trouble finishing her words before saying, "You just don't want to be in that position."
Patrick was behind Wheldon in the race and narrowly avoided one of the flaming cars that were launched airborne.
It was a dark way to end what has been a record-setting career for Patrick. She is the only female driver to ever win an IndyCar event - the Japan 300 in 2008. She has also been named the most popular driver in Indy racing for years. She was named rookie of the year in 2005, the same year Dan Wheldon won his first Indy 500.