Danica Patrick: Who is this guy?
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (July 30, 2013) – Walking through the garage this weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Danica Patrick will spot another driver in a GoDaddy firesuit.
And it won’t be because GoDaddy IZOD IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe took a wrong turn on his way to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.
It’s because Patrick’s boss and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Tony Stewart has joined the GoDaddy team for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono and will drive the No. 14 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS.
While Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, will be behind the wheel of her iconic green car at Pocono, Stewart’s will be painted primarily black.
And both will attempt to figure out how to go fast around the one-of-a-kind 2.5-mile triangular racetrack at Pocono.
Patrick made her first start of any kind at Pocono in the June Sprint Cup Series race, when she started 30th and finished 29th.
She’s hoping to improve in her second race at the “Tricky Triangle” as the long summer stretch marches on.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Overall thoughts on Pocono?
“It’s a neat place, definitely a unique track. It was helpful to test there before the last race, especially since Friday practice was rained out during the race weekend. It’s good to go to these places a second and third time. It’s just part of the learning process. I feel more comfortable going there this time than last time and I’m sure I’ll feel even more comfortable next year. Going to these tracks a second and third time helps.”
Tony Stewart will be driving a black GoDaddy Chevrolet SS this weekend. Talk about that.
“I think it’s neat, especially with a little different paint scheme. I think the black car looks good. Any extra exposure is great for GoDaddy and their employees and customers. It’s a pretty unique situation having two GoDaddy cars out there. I’m excited about it.”
How are you gauging your rookie year thus far?
“I think it is important to look at how it is going overall with the team. I think we’ve had some struggles this year and we are trying to come to grips with the new car. I wish I was better off than I am right now, but we are getting better. It’s just that everyone gets better throughout the weekend. I asked Tony (Gibson, crew chief) after Loudon how I was doing, and what does he really expect out of me. To some degree, that’s the real question – what are the expectations of me? Do you think I am supposed to be top-20 and top-15 all the time? Or am I not? He said, ‘If I saw there being an issue, or something that stood out as a problem, or an area you needed to work on, I would have come to you already, but I don’t see it. And every time I am behind you, you are doing the right thing’. He said we have to work on the cars and make them better, and he thinks I am doing a good job.”
Talk about your teammate Ryan Newman’s win last week at the Brickyard 400.
“I was really happy for him and the team. Ryan’s a laid-back guy but, when I went to victory lane after the race, you could tell he was pretty excited and happy. I’m really happy for him and (crew chief) Matt Borland. They’ve both been a huge help to me and it was great to see them get such a big win.”
Is it daunting to know that getting a win or top-10 finishes is very difficult for rookies in the Sprint Cup Series?
“You are competing against a lot of experience and good relationships team-wise, driver- and crew chief-wise, and familiarity. It’s just tough. I think hoping for top-10s and wins all the time is fairly unrealistic. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Daytona was a top-10 to start the year off, but I think it’s far more realistic to hope for top-15s and top-20s, right now. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s about baby steps and it’s about making realistic goals you can achieve. Otherwise, it’s just constantly frustrating because, if you had set a goal of top-20 and you finish there, then you have something to be happy about where, if you don’t set that goal at all and you’re 20th, then you are like, ‘I suck, I’m 20th.’ You have to set goals along the way and it’s a process. That is why experience pays off. For the most part in your whole career, you don’t stop learning and you continue to get better. It’s just a little bit more so at the beginning.”