DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY RACING CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed her relationship with COPD, finishing out her scheduled races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2012, racing at Phoenix International Raceway and much more.
WE KNOW THAT NOVEMBER IS COPD (CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE) AWARENESS MONTH AND YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY IT’S SO SIGNIFICANT TO YOU: “November is the month and orange is the color.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO LET THE PUBLIC KNOW ABOUT COPD AND ITS AFFECTS? “It’s one of those diseases that is slow going, but once it takes hold the damage is done. Early detection is really the most important thing with that disease.
Trying to bring people to be honest with themselves about how they are feeling and if they might have it is the most important thing so that they can have as normal of lives as possible because the disease is just progressive.”
ARE YOU HAPPY THE SEASON IS ENDING? WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO GO PAST HOMESTEAD? DO YOU NEED A BREAK? “I definitely showed concern years ago about the length of the season.
That was kind of one of the things that really in my mind held me back from wanting to commit to NASCAR. Now that I’m in it and I feel like I’ve had a nice transition into it, I don’t mind at all.
I like racing every weekend. The season could keep going or not. I never turn down off time and there is definitely a lot of stress for sure and it’s a lot of work, but it’s fun at the same time.
The season could keep going, which is surprising to me. I thought I would be very tired by this point in time, but I feel like I’m just kind of figuring it out.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT JR MOTORSPORTS AND THE OPPORTUNITY THAT TEAM GIVES DRIVERS WHO ARE MAKING THEIR START IN NASCAR, WHEN THE SPORTS MOST POPULAR DRIVER, DALE EARNHARDT JR., GIVES YOU HIS ENDORSEMENT HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOU? “Very positive, between Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. wanting me, giving me the chance to run for his team.
Then of course more recently Tony Stewart with Stewart-Haas, those endorsements are really big for me in the garage area. I think it helps with drivers too, although I feel like you still need to go out there and you still have to earn their respect when you race against them.
But perhaps there is a little bit more established from the beginning. It’s very important and I think it’s played a big role in being accepted in the sport like I have.”
AFTER A FULL SEASON OF NATIONWIDE AND NEXT YEAR A FULL SEASON IN SPRINT CUP, WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTATION FOR 2013? IS THERE ANY EXPECTATION FROM YOURSELF OR MAYBE YOUR SPONSORS? “I think it’s difficult to establish what my expectation will be right now for Sprint Cup next year.
I think that it is going to be a build from where we are right now. I think Tony Gibson (crew chief) and I still… we should probably have a very specific conversation, I think it will happen over the winter about exactly what our expectation level should be at the beginning of the season.
It probably varies track to track a little bit, but overall where do we hope to qualify then where do we hope to race and what do we hope that happens with lap time in the race and competitiveness with that.
I think that will be something that we will sort of establish over the winter when we have time to reflect and think about it and look forward to next year. Right now I feel like it is just about getting familiar with each other and getting these two races under our belt.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING THE CUP CAR FOR THE FIRST TIME AT PHOENIX: “I think it’s really good that I am doing this short-track race. I think short-tracks are something that I need to get more comfortable with.
Although I think it’s really come a long this year, I think some of my better Nationwide races have actually come at places like Iowa and Loudon. It will be a good experience for me. It will be a good learning experience to end on for this year.
I feel like we have made a lot of progress on the 1.5-mile tracks and we obviously got a lot of really difficult ones out of the way like Bristol and Dover and Darlington.
I’ll look forward to next year and I think we’ve created a really good base of various different tracks to think about for next season.”
WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT YESTERDAY ON THE SUPERBOWL ADS WERE YOU EVER REALLY CONCERNED YOU WOULDN’T BE IN THEM? IS THAT A BIG DEAL TO YOU? “First and foremost it is a big deal. I’m always really honored to be in those commercials.
I think it’s great for, and this is what I said yesterday, about feeling like I’m the lucky one in the partnership. Even though Bob (Parson) said he feels like he benefits more.
I feel like I do and it’s because that is some amazing exposure for me as a brand. Then to link that up with GoDaddy and really only continue to solidify our partnership and our value in each other is very important to me. Was I surprised?
I heard from Bob a couple of weeks ago after some news came out about maybe not being in them. He called and said ‘look I just want you to know that it’s my intention, it’s my plan that you will be in a Superbowl ad.’
So yesterday when we had our press conference to announce the Semper Fi Fund promotion to raise a million dollars that Bob will match and that I’m going to run the Semper Fi Fund logo on the front of both my No. 7 and No. 10 GoDaddy cars he announced that I was going to be in both of them. That was definitely news to me yesterday. Great news.”
THERE ARE TWO GENTLEMEN VYING FOR THE CUP CHAMPIONSHIP WITH DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT RESUME’S AS IT PERTAINS TO CHAMPIONSHIPS, WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK EACH OF THEM WOULD HAVE IF THEY DO GO ON TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THIS SPORT? “Well you obviously have Jimmie (Johnson) who has done it a handful of times.
It’s an incredible feat and he’s on his way to continue to break more records there probably. I think it’s definitely an interesting story with Brad (Keselowski) and how he’s only been in the series for a short amount of time and accomplishing great things early.
We saw the success in Nationwide as well with him. Yeah, probably a little bit different approaches maybe. I mean Jimmie has the experience and Brad is young and it’s new and it’s not been obtained yet so I don’t know what that kind of brings up inside of him verses someone who’s done it so many times.
Experience does tend to pay off, so I’m sure it’s going to be exciting. I look forward to watching it. I’m not going to be racing Cup next weekend so I’ll be sitting on pit lane watching it all go down, and watching the excitement like everyone else will.
I think they are both good stories, I think everybody loves to see a legacy and a dynasty like Jimmie has. That’s just something really special in sports. Brad’s story is just new and exciting.”
WHO WOULD YOU RATHER SEE WIN AND WHY? “I don’t really know. I don’t think I could answer that. I like Jimmie and I like Chad (Knaus, crew chief). I know them pretty well. I know Chad pretty well.
So, I tend to cheer for the people that I know best, but I also love a new champion and I love a little bit of an underdog, and that’s probably impossible to describe Brad as that but with a guy like Jimmie that’s done it five times I guess you would almost have to put him as the underdog. I don’t know. I cheer for both stories.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO DAYTONA NEXT YEAR, HOW DOES BEING IN THE CAR FOR 3 ½ HOURS AND 500 MILES AFFECT YOU? WHAT DO YOU LIKE, DON’T LIKE? “Most of my races have been 500 miles this year and the 600.
Gosh when those 400’s come up I’m like this is a walk in the park. I remember getting back into a Cup car for the first time for a couple of months at Darlington and I think the Nationwide race was 130 or 160 laps and it was way more than double that in the Cup car.
That was an intimidating number. I think this year, I remember talking about it just this last week or two, that the Cup races are really just so long and they do kind of feel like that at times.
It feels like the first 100 takes a while and then you think wow, we’ve got 200 left and all of the sudden it’s the last stint and it go time. Things definitely go by a lot quicker once you get in the groove.
It’s just something to adjust to and something to get used to. No different than a schedule and getting use to traveling every week or something like that. I’m already kind of getting used to it a little bit.”
YOU’RE GOING FROM A NATIONWIDE POINTS SYSTEM THAT HAS BEEN PRETTY EXCITING THIS YEAR TO THE CHASE FORMAT NEXT YEAR, DO YOU HAVE ANY PREFERENCE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE WAY THESE THINGS PLAY OUT? “It’s supposed to be realistic, the Chase is a pretty long shot for me coming next year so I don’t know if I’ve really put a lot of thought to it.
You never know though. Anything can happen. I think that for me that will be something that will come up in the years to come as that becomes more realistic and something to shoot for.
I am all for anything that makes this sport more entertaining, makes more news, and brings more sponsors in. I’m sure that being someone that leads the championship going into the Chase and then being basically even with 12th is definitely disappointing on some level.
At the same time, if that’s what keeps the sponsors and the fans engaged, then that’s what we need to do.”
HANNAH NEWHOUSE IS A 15-YEAR-OLD DRIVER THAT IS ENTERING THE K&N SERIES, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT HER? “They can race at 15 now? Well how old am I? (laughter).”
SHE SAID YOU PAINTED THE IDEAL PICTURE FOR WOMEN DRIVERS. ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT AND WHERE SHE IS GOING? “I painted the ideal picture. Wow, that’s very flattering. I always encourage young drivers coming up to not want to be like me, but be better than me.
That’s what I thought when I was growing up. I just wanted to be better than everyone. I never really had an idol or somebody like that I wanted to be like.
I didn’t know why then, but I think internally I always knew that I was maybe different. I didn’t let other people guide me on what I should be looking to achieve necessarily or a path to take.
That’s very flattering and thank you but I think you just have to have the big goal in mind and then let it take its course. There’s not one certain way to get to the top of racing, that’s for sure.
It’s a matter of taking the opportunities and being confident and knowing they will all teach you something.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK BEING IN THE SUPERBOWL ADS INCREASES YOUR ABILITY TO GET THEM TO SPONSOR YOU TO RACE? GODADDY AND POSSIBLY OTHER COMPANIES IN THE FUTURE IF GODADDY EVER NOT WANTED TO SPONSOR YOU? “I think what it does it establishes not necessarily just my brand and GoDaddy’s brand, but our brand together.
That we each on some level need each other. That’s a great scenario for someone like me. I can only hope that works for the other person, this being GoDaddy. We’ve had tons of success together.
They’ve become an incredibly big company and had a lot of success. I want to keep that going and be a part of it. I just think it solidifies our branding together as the important part.”
WHEN THE SEASON IS OVER AND YOU CAN SUMMARIZE IT, IS THERE ANY TRACK THAT YOU REALLY LIKED AND ONE TRACK YOU DIDN’T? “This question kind of gets asked in various forms. To be honest, all that really matters is how you do at the track.
So if it’s a track that you do well at, you’re going to like it. Sometimes that changes. Gosh, I remember being in Indy Car and going to Sonoma for the first time and just hating it. I remember I drove by one time and gave it the finger.
I was not in favor of Sonoma. Then I go back in 2007 and I qualify on the front row and I’m like I love Sonoma. I think that it just depends on how you do and that changes from time to time, and year to year.”