KANSAS CITY, KAN. Sure, the media room is still crowded, and Danica Patrick is still holding 30-minute press conferences when she has no top-five finishes this year.
But make no mistake about it. Patrick, more than anyone, misses the mania.
"I like doing interviews. I enjoy it," Patrick said. "I suppose I miss that hype a little bit. It will come. The results just have to jump back up again."
After an exciting Indy Racing League rookie campaign - which included winning the pole at the Kansas Speedway and finishing fourth at the Indianapolis 500 - Patrick has somewhat fallen back into the fray after experiencing what has been a rebuilding year with her Rahal Letterman team.
Shortly after the season began, the team changed over from Panoz to Dallara cars, a dramatic shift usually held for the off-season.
The result has been a tough transition for Patrick, who is currently 12th in the point standings with a highest overall finish of sixth.
"It's a painful process. It's not pretty from the outside with our results right now," Patrick said. "But in the long run this is the sort of thing that you have to do. We all just have to stick it out."
The change in cars has forced her crew to make adjustments on the run. At Texas Motor Speedway, her only goal was to make sure her seat was in the correct position.
"You get 5 Gs in the corner. We're going 200 miles per hour side-by-side. The last thing you want to be thinking is, 'Oh wait. My glove is catching on that hook. I can't turn,'" Patrick said. "You guys might think that sounds kind of silly, but it's a lot different than driving a car."
The rough times have taken some of the media glare and pressure off Patrick as far as the Indy Racing League is concerned.
Though many would welcome stepping out of the spotlight, Patrick only wishes she was back in it.
"Am I enjoying life more? I'd be lying if I told you yes," Patrick said. "The racing is what makes me happy, and it's not going very well. We're struggling."
Though her racing has hit somewhat of a speed bump, the same cannot be said about her career off the track.
She has recently been named one of Spin Magazine's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" and is also currently an endorser for Hostess, appearing on Twinkies and Cupcakes boxes.
Patrick said becoming such an icon was a goal that she never believed she couldn't accomplish.
"I've been a successful driver since I was 10 years old. For me to not dream and think that could keep happening through my career would be cheating myself," Patrick said. "Yeah, I thought that could happen. I knew that a woman being a pro and racing well is something the sport hasn't seen, and that it would be a good story.
"And a big story."
Patrick understands just how big she has become. She hopes that her breaking into the IRL will at least let other young girls know the door is open for them to do the same.
"Maybe now that I'm in the Indy Car series, and there are other women in other series, they have someone to look up to," Patrick said. "They're playing with those Indy Cars now maybe."
As for Patrick, she'll try to get comfortable with her own car to return to national prominence for racing.
She's done pretty well for herself thus far.
"I dared to dream, I guess," Patrick said. "I know those are cliched sort of phrases, but I really think it's important. I think it's important to dare to dream really big."