DANICA PATRICK AND CREW CHIEF TONY GIBSON, NO. 10 GODADDY RACING CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Texas Motor Speedway, working with each other this weekend and beyond, the importance of getting a head start for next season now and other topics.
TELL US ABOUT RACING HERE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY YOU HAVE BEEN HERE SEVERAL TIMES NOW:
DANICA PATRICK: “Yeah I was trying to think of how many times. Somebody while I was giving ride and drives for Chevy yesterday in the middle of the day, convertibles with my hair are just a really bad thing at around 120 mph around here so, they were saying it seems like you have been around here a few times.
It has a lot of grip, banking, and speed and had pretty good success here over the years with whatever I have driven.
I think this is a great place to start with Tony (Gibson, crew chief).
I think this is a nice way to kind of get towards the end of my Cup races this year and hopefully we can have a good weekend.”
TALK ABOUT COMING OVER TO THE NO. 10 TEAM AND GETTING A LITTLE BIT OF A HEAD START ON NEXT YEAR:
TONY GIBSON: “Yeah it’s good. The communication side of it, her hearing my voice on the radio and working with her and finding out this is one of her good tracks. I’ve done some research on that, she really gets around here pretty good.
Hopefully, we won’t screw it up and we can give her something good to drive today. To get any kind of time in is crucial. Not only on a communications side, but as far as the balance of the race car we have to learn.
We don’t want her to adapt to our set-ups we want to adapt to her driving style. These two races will be crucial in gaining a head start on that. So over the winter time we can make plans and do some testing and get further on down the road for us.
She has the capability of winning races; she’s a winner so we don’t have to teach her how to win. We just have to make sure that our race team is solid and can comfort her and give her the things she needs to win in the Cup Series.”
HOW OFTEN HAVE THE TEAMS YOU’VE BEEN WITH WANTED TO ADAPT TO YOU VERSUS YOU ADAPTING TO THEM? HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT TO YOU?
DANICA PATRICK: “It is a nice thing to hear. I think that is something you hear from someone who is open, ready and smart and knows that every driver has a different style.
It is just a matter of how to maximize that. It’s kind of music to my ears as a driver. I know that there is a lot for me to learn about these cars and Tony (Gibson, crew chief) is extremely smart. I already know that as well as everybody who works with him.
I have a lot to learn, but that is nice to hear. I hopefully can convey exactly what it is that I need and be able to point them in the right direction.
What is really nice about working with each other these last couple of races of the year is that every driver has a unique way of describing the car and how it feels.
When I say the car is two out of five tight that is not the same for anyone else. So learning what that really means and how big a change you need to make to fix that is the kind of stuff that we are going to get a really good head start on now.”
WHY IS THIS A GOOD PAIRING FOR YOU TWO TO WORK TOGETHER?
TONY GIBSON: “I just think the biggest thing is Tony (Eury Jr.) and Danica got a long really well and I’ve worked with Tony Jr. we are great friends and we worked together for several years at DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) so I think putting us together is a better fit.
It’s a really good fit. It’s a good fit for my race team we are old school racers. We are the Tony Jr., Tony (Eury) Sr. style of racers and I think that fits Danica pretty good.
I think they have done a great job as a company at Stewart-Haas putting the right people with Danica and her with us because we are going to grow together. We are going to grow fast.
There are going to be some bumps in the road, we know that. But, my team is ready for that and we are ready to grow and we are excited about this new venture for us.”
DANICA PATRICK: “He hit is right on the head to be honest. I agree. It’s funny I think of that too. I think about how well I got along with Tony (Eury) Jr. and how he is definitely a little more old school.
Just the personalities are just cool, laid back, get down to business, but still have fun. I think that is a great attitude to bring to the track every weekend.
I feel like it gets a really good team to rally around them. It speaks volumes that the guys stayed all together to come onto the No. 10 car. I think that just shows what a great leader he is.”
TONY GIBSON: “It was one of the things that I talked to Danica about earlier was everybody on the No. 39 had an option of what they wanted to do as a team.
It took them like 30 seconds to answer back that they were on board and everybody was excited for it. Hopefully, that is comforting to Danica and just sends a message to her that we are behind her 110 percent and ready to move forward.”
WHAT HAPPENS THE FIRST TIME YOU CALL HER ‘OLD MAN’?
TONY GIBSON: “(Laughs) I don’t know. I’m not really sure. If I do say that I’m sorry. It just comes out for some odd reason. I don’t know. I have no idea hopefully she will forgive me.”
DANICA PATRICK: “In what context do you use ‘Old Man’?”
TONY GIBSON: “Pretty much, I don’t know it slips out. I don’t really know why I say that. For years it’s just been what I say. I’m not sure where that came from to be honest with you.”
DANICA PATRICK: “I don’t mind.”
TONY GIBSON: “If I do say that I am sorry and I don’t mean it. I was Mark Martin’s crew chief and everybody is like ‘man that is really insulting to him’. I’m like I have no idea; I don’t realize I’m saying it to him. It was a big joke.
Aric Almirola, I was the crew chief for Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and it was the same way. I don’t know. It just comes out so I’m probably going to say it a few times, but if I do I’m sorry forgive me. As long as we are successful we can call each other what we want to.”
DANICA PATRICK: “I don’t really care what people call me. Tony (Eury) Jr. would call me ‘babe’ and things like that on the radio and he would apologize. I’m like I really don’t care what you call me. I don’t care if you pronounce my name wrong as long as it starts with a ‘D’.”
TONY GIBSON: “I think I have called her ‘D’ every time I have called her and talked to her on the phone. I will try to just stick with just calling her ‘D’.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE LESSONS IN THE THREE YEARS YOU HAVE BEEN HERE WHAT ARE THE GREATEST LESSONS THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED WHAT DO YOU STILL HAVE TO LEARN TO REALLY GET ABSOLUTELY COMFORTABLE HERE?
“For me I have just transitioned through quite a bit over these years. It was just coming every month or so into the car and doing a race and trying to get comfortable quickly after driving and IndyCar for a while.
There was that transition for two years then this being the first full time year then sort of sprinkling in some Cup races then next year going full time Cup.
That is a lot of transitions and a lot of changes and a lot of things to get used to whether it is new cars, new schedules or new crew chief. It’s just been a lot to get used to, but I think that it all helps me adapt quicker.
It helps me focus on what being more specific with my words and being more poignant with what I want. There has been a lot that I have learned for sure and I have a lot left to learn.
Just understanding the cars and how they change from practice to the race and how they change throughout the race. Those are things that are just so much more unique to NASCAR than they are to IndyCar I feel.
In IndyCar you could set the car up in practice and it would feel the same in qualifying and the race for the most part of adapting some weather changes to the downforce levels to that they were equal.
You could calculate that. There is a lot more transitions within the weekend itself in NASCAR. So getting used to that has been something I am still learning.”
HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF THINGS ARE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION NEXT YEAR AND WHAT WILL BE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR DANICA TO KNOW IF SHE IS IMPROVING?
TONY GIBSON: “Well, there’s no pressure on us. I think the communication will get better and smoother. Understanding when she is tight like she said earlier, a two out of five, we go through that every weekend.
Every driver I’ve ever had is different. Even (Tony) Stewart and (Ryan) Newman are totally different. The offsets that we had to do for Newman versus Stewart are just on the other side of the spectrum.
Just learning those things for what she needs going into qualifying trim, as the races go on how do we adjust, and me learning the tone of her voice. I can tell by a driver, because the tone of his voice is getting higher and higher and higher that it’s pretty serious.
Those things we are going to learn. She puts more pressure on herself to do good because the media puts pressure on her to do good. For us it’s all about learning and growing together.
Like I told her, we are going to set small goals and achievable goals for us. Whether if it’s by the end of qualifying practice to be on the left side of the board and qualify 25th, 23rd, 20th, 18th; let’s set goals that we can achieve together as a race team and grow together.
I’m not putting any pressure on her or any set we’ve got to win a race or we’ve got to run a top-five, so I’ll judge everything off how we are getting along, how our team is building more than I am results.”
YOU’VE BEEN WITH DALE (EARNHARDT) JR, SO YOU’VE BEEN WITH HIGH PROFILE, DANICA IS OBVIOUSLY VERY HIGH PROFILE, THERE’S NO DOING ANYTHING UNDER THE RADAR, WILL THAT HELP YOU THAT YOU WERE WITH JUNIOR AND YOU UNDERSTAND BEING WITH SOMEBODY THAT EVERYTHING YOU DO IS GOING TO BE SCRUTINIZED?
TONY GIBSON: “Absolutely, anything in this business. I was with Bill Elliott for a while too and he was probably one of the biggest ones in the sport then.
It’s difficult, it’s different, but at the end of the day you still have to do your job. No matter who is driving the race car you have a job to get done. My job is to fit a race car and a set up for Danica’s driving style and that’s what we are going to work hard on.
She is in the lime light all the time. It’s like last weekend the deal with Landon Cassill and all, I don’t want her to lose that fire. That’s the fire you need.
There has been guys that have spun people out and done things like that when they are rookies and nobody talks about it but being a female it gets blown out of proportion. I hope she keeps that fire and desire and we’ll work on the rest of the stuff.”
GOING BACK TO WHAT TONY SAID EARLIER, WHY ARE YOU SO COMFORTABLE WITH OLD-SCHOOL RACERS?
DANICA PATRICK: “I don’t know. Doesn’t that seem funny? I’m kind of fancy. I buy fancy things, I eat at fancy restaurants, drink fancy wines, I don’t know. Honestly I think it’s opposites attract. It’s more fun to be honest.
It’s just more fun. I think back to being a kid growing up and go-kart racing. That sort of style is also why I love NASCAR in general, everything from the language to describe the car, to the style of people and the camaraderie.
It just reminds me of growing up and racing all over the east coast and the south. It’s more normal to me probably than what I did for over 10 years with seven years of Indy Car and from 16 to 19 being in England.
I guess I realized how European style Indy Car was when I came to NASCAR and was I remember the word tight, I used to use that. It’s just how everybody gets along and how much fun we have here, and kind of almost how much racing we do.
In go-karts we would do 40 or 50 races a year. In NASCAR we obviously do a tremendous amount and I think it’s just more normal to me than what I was doing.
From the first time that I got into a car at Orlando Speedway a couple of years ago, I pulled out of the pit area to go on to the track and I really felt ..
I was like oh my God, what have I been doing. I feel like I’m at home. I felt comfortable and it just felt like I was where I was supposed to be.”
TONY WILL BE YOUR FOURTH CREW CHIEF SINCE ENTERING NASCAR, DO YOU HAVE A BETTER SENSE OR APPRECIATION OF WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR, WHAT YOU NEED, AND IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SERIES?
DANICA PATRICK: “You know I think that it’s not necessarily a specific person as much as it is their demeanor and their openness to listen and going down the paths that I go down sometimes in practice, and being ready to just kind of adapt what I say to the car and trust me, and want to be there.
I think that may be one of the biggest things, when someone wants to be there it just gives me confidence and give me comfort. It makes me feel better.
No matter what I’ve been doing that’s one thing I’ve learned, the person has to want to be there. There’s so much racing and so much time together that if they don’t, you just don’t feel it.
I really get that feeling from Tony, that he wanted to be here and from his guys. I just think that’s like a perfect remedy for success moving forward.”
Source: Team Chevy