Daytona 500 media day visit: Patrick and Newman

Team Chevy Racing press release

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed the pressures of NASCAR racing, pack-racing verses tandem racing, not running the Indy 500 and much more.

Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

TREVOR BAYNE PROVED LAST YEAR THAT A NEWCOMER CAN WIN THIS RACE. WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO WIN THIS RACE? “Luck. I have a fast car so I think that’s taken care of but I think it’s going to take some good breaks and a patient race, staying out of trouble. You know it would be nice to kind of keep toward the front. I’ve found that when you are up near the front away from the thick of things you’re much less likely to be caught in an accident that smoke is filled the air to and you can’t miss or you can’t see. But I think luck is going to play a big factor.”

AND ITS GOING TO BE MORE OF A PACK RACE THAN A TANDUM RACE SO HOW MUCH OF THAT IS GOING TO COME INTO PLAY FOR YOU? “I don’t pack racing. You’re going to have to make sure you stay in touch with the pack. If you lose the pack you are in trouble. But then I think you’re still going to be able to do some tandem to catch back up if that’s the case and at the end of the day I believe what is going to win the race is something tandem. The accidents might be bigger again just because everybody is closer but hopefully it’s exciting for the fans. I know they have asked for pack racing back and I know it looks visually much more interesting and it’s fine. We did some pack racing in testing a few weeks ago and I think everybody enjoyed it.”

WILL TONY (STEWART) BE YOUR TANDUM PARTNER, HAVE YOU FIGURED THAT OUT YET? “I don’t know you should ask Tony that. I think partly it just depends on where you are at on the track and are you near each other to make that tandem happen. I would love to run with Tony I know that much. I have no problem running with Ryan (Newman) either but Tony and I ran really well in the summer race. I’m sure that given all situations I could learn a lot from him.”

BUT THEY’RE NOT YOUR TEAMMATES. “They’re essentially not my teammates but they are my teammates for the big picture and that’s the reason why they are kind of not my teammates right now is for the big picture.”

HOW ARE YOU MEASURING YOURSELF FOR A SUCCESSFUL RACE FOR YOU, TOP-FIVE, TOP-10? “I think that with a race like Daytona, well first off it’s the Daytona 500 and everybody wants to win it of course. It’s just going to depend on the looking back at the picture of the race and did you run up front at all, what happened, did I make any mistakes, but let’s face it great drivers don’t have great big speedway races because it depends on so many other factors like the tandem running or like staying in touch with the pack or like a pit stop or something like that or staying out of trouble. Like I said you can get caught in an accident that you just couldn’t see through to miss and your day is over. So I don’t think there is a position that you can put on a race like this because it’s wide open for various levels of experienced drivers to do well. Ultimately we all want to win but at the end of the day it’s going to depend on probably looking back at the race and assessing my mistake level probably.”

WHAT’S YOUR COMFORT LEVEL GOING INTO SPEEDWEEKS, OBVIOUSLY IT’S NOT YOUR FIRST RODEO EVEN THOUGH IT’S YOUR FIRST 500? “I feel good. I think that if I had not experienced all the media crazy around this whole part of things it would have been somewhat overwhelming or maybe at least I would have felt like there’s a lot to do and there is but once you’ve had a little practice at it you know how it works. My whole team knows how it works and how to organize everything so it’s done effectively and efficiently. But I feel good, let’s not forget I’ve been exposed to the Indy 500 which is one of the biggest races in the world if not the biggest race in the world and there’s lots of media around that too and lots of hype for kind of like this an extended period of time but you know it’s definitely good to have had the experience I had in Nationwide part-time leading to a full-time year.”

BECAUSE OF THE POINTS BEING APPLIED TO YOUR CAR, HOW MUCH ARE YOU GOING TO BE PULLING FOR DAVID REUTIMANN IN THOSE RACES THAT YOU ARE NOT PART OF? “For sure a lot. I’m definitely going to hope that David has good races and that he finishes well or finishes. I think that’s always a hope when it’s a car that you’re going to be running and points that you’re going to be sharing. I’m sure the other is quite true as well. He’s going to hope when I get in the car that I do okay as well. So a fair assessment.”

HOW MUCH OF A TRANSITION IS IT NOW TO TECHNICALLY BE RUNNING FOR ANOTHER TEAM OTHER THAN STEWART-HAAS? “At this point and time it’s not been much it’s really just been exposure to the teams themselves, Stewart-Haas and Tommy Baldwin and working together. I think moving forward now that we’re here at the race track I think it’s just going to be added information and perspective and more teammates to talk to. I think it’s just going to be upside from here on out.”

WHEN YOU MADE THE JUMP OVER HERE TO THIS WORLD YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY GIVING UP A LOT OF YOUR FREE TIME AND THERE’S A LOT OF PRESSURES. HOW MUCH OF THAT WEIGHED INTO YOUR DECISION? “Back a few years ago I definitely was concerned with the work load that NASCAR schedules bring but the last two years I went from doing a 16 – 18 race season to about 30 and now it’s going to be about 34 or 35 weekends so it’s really only an extra month worth of weekends so it’s much more tolerable than jumping from Indy Car to NASCAR in one jump. So I’m feeling pretty comfortable with it and it’s not a big deal. Oddly enough if it’s at all possible I’m ready to go.”

DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE WITH ALL THE DEMANDS NOW THAN SAY A YEAR AGO? “Yeah, and I think that comes from learning how it works and getting comfortable and familiar. I’m very good when I know what’s coming. When I get surprised and things getting added on the schedule is when I get frustrated because expectation levels are everything for me. But not only from my perspective am I more comfortable now but from my assistant’s perspective and the help she gets from Junior Motorsports and Stewart-Hass, I think we all have a much better picture of how to do everything and how to keep it in line and how to help you folks do your job.”

DO YOU SURPRISE YOURSELF AT ALL WITH HOW WELL YOU’VE HANDLED IT? “I don’t know. What’s surprised me is just how much I truly enjoy driving these cars. That sounds super cheesy I’m sure, you probably all think I’m lying but I never thought I would like driving these cars as much as I do.”

WITH PACK RACING A LOT OF VETERAN DRIVERS OFTEN GO STRAIGHT TO THE BACK OF THE PACK AND HANG OUT AND LET THE RACE PLAY ITSELF OUT AND WITH ABOUT 30 LAPS TO GO THEY START MAKING THEIR WAY BACK TO THE FRONT. DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT ENOUGH WITH YOUR SKILL LEVEL THAT YOU CAN DO THAT? “I think that for me as a rookie and as a young driver without much experience with some of these guys and any with some of these guys, when I pull out of line to go it’s not like Tony Stewart pulling out of line to go. There are people that are probably going to more so be confident with him and go with him if he pulls out of line to go to the front than myself. I think if it gets to be a pack race and I’m in the back at the end I think it can be a little bit more of a struggle than if it was a tandem-style racing just because if its tandem all I have to do is either push or lead the way and someone is right there. I think it can be a little more difficult for me but that’s nothing any other driver has not had to deal with and if that’s the case then I’ll just try and be smart and make up the most spots I can.”

DOES EVERYBODY HAVE AN IDEA YET OF WHAT THE PERCENTAGE MIGHT BE, PACK-RACING VERSES TANDEM? “I don’t know what changes they’ve made since the test we did a few weeks ago but there was a lot of tandem running being done so I don’t know. I think you will find a lot of drivers and especially you’ll find a lot of veterans that want to do pack racing and they are going to hang out like that and there will probably be a lot of running like that. But you will also find some people and you might even find a couple of groups of people that hook up and get away and then do their own pack running for a while just to make the group smaller. I think that it just depends on who is where, yellow flags and things like that or long green-flag runs. I think there is probably going to be more than two percent tandem racing but we’ll see.”

NOW THAT YOU ARE FULLY ENGAGED IN NASCAR, AND NOT RUNNING THE INDY 500, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PAIN THAT HITS YOU IN MAY WHEN YOU KNOW YOU ARE RACING IN CHARLOTTE VERSES AT THE INDY 500? “I’m sure when May comes around I will definitely be a little sad that I’m not there and at least thinking about what’s going on and curious about what’s going on. I still find myself curious about what’s going on, I can’t just drop the thoughts of open-wheel racing form one month to the next. So I still keep up with what’s happening and what’s going on over there. I’m sure the curiosity will dwindle as my work load grows here but once May comes around I’ll be curious. I’ll be paying attention. I’ll be paying attention to the teams and who’s running well and which car is running well and which manufacturer but especially with teams. I’ll be paying attention throughout the year.”

YOU HAVEN’T CLOSED THE DOOR THERE? “No, no. I just am not doing it this year. With the Iowa race being on Sunday of the qualifying weekend, I’ve been on the great side of qualifying and I’ve been on the terrible side of qualifying and it might be done on Saturday but if it’s not done until Sunday at the gun shot then that means I’m having to compromise in one place and unfortunately the one that going to get compromised is the Indy 500 because I’m focusing on the Nationwide Series. You can’t really put that sort of situation into play and not be able to follow through on everything.”

TALK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TONY AND HOW YOUR PERSONALITIES MESH. “Well Tony likes to have fun, I like to have fun. Gosh that’s a really dumb thing, don’t we all like to have fun?”

TONY’S HABITS ARE A LITTLE BIT MORE HARD CORE THAN YOUR’S THOUGH. “He doesn’t drink wine; well I drink a lot of wine. Maybe I’ll have to tune him into that.”

HE ALSO EATS A LOT OF FAST FOOD. “Yeah, I don’t eat a lot of fast food. Maybe I can be helpful and he can be helpful to me. Loosen up, tighten up. I think we just kind of have the same sense of humor. He’s a little bit more, like we were at the race shop and he just decided he was going to take a little, it was brake cleaner probably and a propane tank, and anyway he has a lot of fun with the things that he does. He’s a little more aggressive with his fun but I just think we both enjoy the banter that comes. In a setting like this with the media, we’ve done plenty of things where we’ve been in front of media and in front of an audience and the way that we’re able to joke around with each other in those kinds of settings I think fits really well. We have a lot of fun with it instead of looking at it as a lot of work. We just enjoy it. I’m sure even at the end of last year with all you guys asking all those questions about the Chase and the end of the championship, that’s fun. That’s fun for us. We enjoy ourselves and make the most of it.”

YOU’VE BEEN AROUND A MALE-DOMINATED SPORT FOR A LONG TIME. ARE THERE STILL SEXIST REMARKS THAT YOU HEAR OR ARE THOSE DAYS OVER? “I think probably until its 50/50 girls and boys you’re going to hear some of that. The only thing that makes me a little bit curious and maybe you guys can answer this question in some way but you know it’s like if there is a pretty girl they don’t know how to describe a pretty girl other than being sexy and it has such a negative connotation to it. You don’t say those kinds of things to frame it like that for a guy or even sometimes talk about it but it seems like with female athletes if they are pretty they only know how to describe them in a sexual way. I don’t care but I just wonder why we can’t talk about it in a different way. Why can’t there be other words for it. Why does it have to be somewhat negatively twisted?”

WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD WORD? “You guys are the ones with the words. You guys are the wordsmith’s. I’m not a wordsmith. Just something without the word sex in it.”

DO YOU THINK YOU CAN WIN THE DAYTONA 500? “Do I think I can win the Daytona 500? Yeah.”

DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A BETTER SHOT AT WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 MAYBE THAN THE INDY 500 IN THE PAST? “No, I don’t think so. I think with the Indy 500 there’s all the work that goes up to it. There’s the team that you drive for, there’s the race car that you’ve worked on and made handle the way you want it to. I think there’s a little more luck in certain ways with the Daytona 500 just because of the style of racing that it is. There is no bad driver that wins the Daytona 500 that’s for sure but things have to fall your way and you’ve got to stay out of trouble that might not have even been your making so I just think there is a little more of a luck side involved with it and you can’t account for that.”

HOW BIG IS THE NATIONWIDE RACE FOR YOU? “There is very little Nationwide testing here and I thought to myself what a wonderful thing I’m doing the Daytona 500 because the cars in my lack of experience I didn’t notice the difference between the two cars, I didn’t drive them back to back. But when I came and tested a few weeks ago it feels very similar to a Nationwide car so I think it’s going to be great practice for the Nationwide race. It’s something to keep in mind for the future too, the race preparing me for the race the next day as well with the Nationwide race. I think the Cup practice is going to be great for the Nationwide race and I think the Nationwide race is going to help a lot for the next day for the Daytona 500.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT OPENER FOR YOU SINCE YOU ARE RUNNING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP? “Well the opener is very important. As Tony Jr. (Eury) has told me the first 10 races really set the stage and set the pace for the rest of the year. It’s like being in school, you get a couple of bad grades on your first few tests and it just seems you can’t get out of that hole and it’s always the same. If you can start the year off well, have great test results at the very beginning it seems like you just kind of hang up there. So hopefully it’s a good start to the year and we can feel good about it.”

HOW IMPORTANT WOULD IT BE FOR YOU TO WIN THE NATIONWIDE CHAMPIONSHIP? “Gosh it would be really, really great to win the Nationwide championship especially with moving forward it’s always nice to know that you have accomplished on a certain level before you go to the next. Is it critical? No but it would be really nice. More than anything what it signifies and also that it’s going to mean you are probably running up front every weekend and you’ve won some races and I would sure as heck like to win some races.”

IS THERE IRONY YOU COULD BE CONTENDING FOR IT WITH SAM HORNISH? “It’s a lot of fun. Oh I’ve got fenders now Sammy.”


RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed Tony Stewart and the 2011 Championship, new teammate Danica Patrick, his previous Daytona 500 win and other topics. Full transcript:

Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

WHEN WAS YOUR LAST TRAFFIC TICKET? “A few years, it has probably been, yea Watkins Glen 2008.”

HOW MANY HAVE I EVER HAD? “My mom sent me my personal file down from Indiana and I had more than I thought I had, but I would say probably eight total. No, I had one a police office pulled me over and I was driving a 1953 Plymouth, and I was smart enough to know that the 1953 Plymouth did not have to have seat belts, and he pulled me over for speeding and he said, I can give you a speeding ticket or I can give you a seat belt ticket, I said well I don’t have to have seat belts, he said yes you do, I said no I don’t, I can give you a speeding ticket or a seat belt ticket, so I got a speeding ticket.”

WHY DID YOU THINK NOT A SEAT BELT TICKET? “Because it was not the point, I was not going to let him lie; legally he could not give me a seat belt ticket. I was 18 years old on my way back from college after dropping my girlfriend off, I was a little mad especially since I was going 45 in a 35.”

HOW HAS BEING A FATHER CHANGED YOU AS A PERSON AND AT THE RACE TRACK? “It only changes my responsibilities away from the race car, it doesn’t change my responsibilities in the race car or to the race team or to my owners or whatever. With respect to that, that is all the same. What I do when I get back to the bus, what I do at the house, my responsibilities I have making bottles, changing dippers, empting diaper genies, you name it that is different no doubt. It is not so much the responsibilities are different, because we have one, and all the other things are not responsibilities are not responsibilities they are hobbies.”

DOES IT BOTHER YOUR WIFE THAT YOU ARE A RACE CAR DRIVER? “No, she is happy I enjoy what I do. She knows that it is risky, and she knows as well as I do, what we do on the racetrack is less risky than driving down the interstate or any kind of side road.”

THROUGH ALL THE RULE CHANGES OVER THE PAST DECADE, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE NASCAR HAS MADE? “The safer barriers in conjunction with the seats and all the things there with respect to making the driver safer, has been far and above the most technological thing that we have had an impact on for the good. We have changed tire compounds, and we have changed chassis and things like that, but the combination of just all the things put together for driver safety, I think has been huge. If you look at where we were ten years ago, with guys like Blaze Alexander and Kenny Irwin, and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and there was more, Tony Roper and a couple of other guys, if you look at all that, that happened in that short time period and what has not happened in the last ten years. That is a pretty amazing feat.”

YOU HAVE STUDIED ENGINEERING THE MECHANICAL PART OF IT; DID YOU SEE THAT COMING BEFORE? “The technology has always been here; it was just applying it. They just applied Styrofoam that people carried into the race track in coolers for the last forty years to the walls. It sounds a little barbaric but it is that simple.”

ONE OF THE GUYS WHO GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION IN THE OFF SEASON IS KASEY KAHNE, MOVING TO A DIFFERENT TEAM, WHAT YOU SEE AS HIS POTENTIAL FOR THIS YEAR? “It is no different than anyone else. Kasey is a heck of a race car driver but his potential does not lie within himself it lies within his team and what he is capable of from a confident standpoint and from a team standpoint. He is as strong as his weakest link, every driver is.”

DO YOU SEE KASEY KAHNE AS A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER? “Everyone is a championship contender at this point.”

WHAT DID YOU GUYS AS AN ORGANIZATION, LEARN FROM LAST SEASON? “I am not sure, to me it is still baffling, what we did on our side with the No. 39 car and what the things the No. 14 car was struggling with and then the success that they had afterward to me it is still mind boggling to have the success that they had with the troubles that they were having. I don’t know; something things you don’t totally understand.”

DO YOU THINK IT WAS TONY WANTING TO TRY HARDER? “No, I don’t think it had anything to do with that. I really don’t, I think things just clicked for them. There was no rocket science to it. Part of it is chemistry, part of it is effort, part of it is performance, call it what you want. What they did and what they achieved is amazing, and it made for an awesome championship story and an awesome Chase and all those things but I don’t think he would want to redo it the way he did it. Changing crew chiefs and having the trouble that he did before the Chase and all that. If he said, would you want to do it that way again, he would say no I’d try to do it a different way. That’s my point.”

INAUDIBLE: “Tony likes playing mind games, but he was not playing mind games in Michigan when he got out of the race car. That was true mild depression, call it what you want. He was not happy at the place that he was. That was the same Tony Stewart that said don’t count us out, after Martinsville or whatever it was, same guy, but his mindset was totally different. His confidence was 180 degrees different from where he was back in Michigan.”

YOU WERE THAT CLOSE TO THE SITUATION AND YOU STILL DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW IT HAPPENED? “He doesn’t understand it. He will tell you. When I got to him in the car at Homestead, I was the second one to get to him in Homestead; he looked at me and said I still don’t believe it. I don’t even know how that happened.”

MY PERCEPTION IS THAT THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING INSIDE THE RACE TEAM THAT SOMEONE FOUND AND YOU GUYS KNOW IT BUT CAN’T SAY IT: “No, I think we were doing a good job on the cars. I think we were doing a lot of things right. We struggled on the team standpoint of capitalizing. We had some good cars, just like Loudon, led 80 laps of the 300 and ended up finishing twenty-fifth with a blown right front tire. That is bad luck. At Chicago we should have finished third and ended up finishing eighth running out of fuel, which a lot of guys did but either way, there were no secrets to his success, it was just a matter of dedication and hard work and that is the same for the last five that Jimmie (Johnson) had. The things that Tony and Darian (Grubb) fought to be able to fight through that and personal feelings aside, and win a championship, like I said if you told me that is what I have to do, I don’t know that I would do that with Tony Gibson. It worked. Sometimes the moons all line up and the stars drop out of the sky.”

DANICA WAS TALKING EARLIER HOW HER AND TONY CAN CUT UP A LITTLE BIT, THEY CAN BE VERY MUCH THE SAME ABOUT BEING FUNNY WITH EACH OTHER. THEY ARE BOTH VERY COMPETITIVE BUT VERY DIFFERENT, YOU BEING IN THAT, SEEING THEM INTERACT, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THEIR RELATIONSHIP? “I would say, no different than Danica or Stewart, we try to make the best of every situation we are in. Whether it is two laps down or a media situation, we don’t necessary want to be in but we have to. That is the part that she is talking about. Just having fun and being yourself. We all get to this point in our careers because we are more successful than other people and that is by tolerating certain things and certain situations and working through it and that is all she was talking about.”

IS IT STILL THAT LAID BACK ATTITUDE AT TIMES BUT KNOW WHEN TO BE SERIOUS? “Well, you have to know when to separate it without a doubt. Knowing to put the jokes aside and give the correct answers and not the smart mouth ones. That is just a matter of personality.”

A YEAR AGO EVERYONE WAS ASKING ABOUT YOUR CONTRACT SITUATION, IS THIS THE LAST YEAR OF YOUR CONTRACT WITH STEWART-HAAS? “2012, is the last year for my contract. HAVE YOU STARTED NEGOTIATIONS? Not yet. WHAT IS YOUR PREFERENCE AND TIMELINE?” Whenever they want to talk about it, we will talk about it. I would have preferred to have got it taken care of in the off season. I saw how much Carl (Edwards) took away from, at least the hype of racing, there were more questions about his contract then there was how many passes he had that week. I don’t want to have that in my situation. I am happy where I am at, there is no issues, it is just we will talk about it when we talk about it. It might be over a pizza one night, you just never know.”

IN A TIME WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH SPONSORS, YOUR TEAM SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO ATTRACT NEW ONES. DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF DYNAMICS IN WORKING WITH THAT OR DO THEY CHOOSE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE CLEAN CUT AND THAT SORT OF THING OR TELL US WHY YOU THINK YOU ARE ABLE TO ATTRACT NEW SPONSORS? “Well there are several factors of it. Obviously I like to think that I am a major part of it because they are representing me, but within the organization, after winning the championship, having someone like Tony Stewart who is not only a great champion but a great driver and a great personality, obviously having Danica jump on board to be a part of our team. All those things are great for publicity, so people like Quicken Loans and Outback, Wix Filters, all those people want to be a part of what we are doing. Part of it is me obviously that is why they are sponsoring me, and I know, I am not gullible to the fact that Tony Stewart steps up to the plate and helps me out with some of that stuff. When it comes to him offering up some of his services to the sponsors, and I do things for Office Depot and other people like that too. I think Stewart-Haas has done a good job first of all of marketing and getting and reaching out to people. Not just recycle people but new people in the sport.”

HOW MUCH OF THE DAYTONA 500 IS LUCK VS. SKILL? “What lap?, WINNING THE RACE: I have always said there is always luck in racing. You can create the destiny of your own luck. That luck can be good luck or bad luck. You have to prepare yourself to get out of the bad luck and into the good luck. When I won, part of it was lucky, part of it was the timing of things, part of it was Kurt (Busch) driving his tail off to get behind me coming off turn two, that was skill and for me it was luck. It is all a matter of opinion. You can ask forty-two other guys out there, they might have thought I got lucky when I won. For me I thought it was skill.”

DO YOU HAVE A 1 IN 43 SHOT OR ARE YOUR ODDS BETTER THAN THAT? “I always say that it is 1 in 43 because that is still pretty good when it comes to winning a five million dollar lottery. What is it a million and a half to win? So even at that”

DANICA PATRICK IS GOING TO COME IN HERE AND STRUGGLE AT PHOENIX AND OTHER TRACKS THAT IS ON HER SCHEDULE: “Hang on, I have a bet with my buddy, he bet me that I would not say this, he came up with a quote. It is not a matter of winning or losing there is more income than outcome, hang on it was really good. No, it is not a matter of winning or losing as long as the outcome is income. That is what it is. I cannot reveal who. We actually created a name to dedicate the quote to because we made up the quote, but that name is not appropriate.”

WHAT’S THE BET? “What did he bet me, he bet me that I wouldn’t do it but I forget which is good enough because it didn’t have to be any money.”

YOU MENTIONED ONE IN FORTY-THREE LAST YEAR: “I always do and I finished like twentieth.”

TREVOR BAYNE IN HIS FIRST RACE WINS THE DAYTONA 500, IS THAT A PRETTY REMARKABLE THING? “It was remarkable, but if you look at the history, do the math, take the averages, the Wood Brothers have done this for forty-three years, so. They should be able to help a kid that has never done it to be successful at it. If Trevor Bayne was lined up with at the time let’s just say TRG Racing or whatever, then no, that would have been way more unexpected. Trevor did an awesome job, he proved himself all week long.”

WOULD YOU BE SURPRISED IF DANICA PATRICK WON THE DAYTONA 500? “I think of all, not taking this away from her, with her experience the way the track is the way the cars work. The way you have to drive the cars, she has a better chance now then four years ago when the track was the old pavement. Having to drive the cars and understand how the cars drove then versus how they do now, it is a matter more now of drafting or tandem drafting. I don’t want to say the skills, but ultimately the skills are much less needed now with respect to driving the car, you have a better opportunity now putting yourself in position than you did back then when you had to have actually manage your car and tires throughout a fuel run.”

INAUDIBLE: “I just look in the mirror and hope they are all behind me. The rest of it doesn’t matter. Yes, I still want to know who is in what car, I still know that Kyle ( Busch) is in the No. 18 and that Kurt ( Busch) is not in the No. 22 anymore, so things do change but I am still racing that car and I am racing that driver so I have to respect that driver a certain way. Everybody gets different respect according to who they are. I think most drivers will tell you that. I will have that figured out about eight laps into practice.”


DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD BE RACING WITH SOMEONE WHO HAD BEEN IN A SWIMSUIT AD? “Luckily in a two piece but yea, Stewart in a swim suit ad?” “That had nothing to do with it for me, Carl (Edwards) has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated or whatever it was, so I mean, you wouldn’t want to see Danica do that?”

IS RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS GOTTEN TO THE POINT THAT IT IS SO MUCH TO LEARN HOW TO DRAFT THAN IT WAS EVEN THREE, FOUR, FIVE YEARS AGO? “I wouldn’t say it is easier in the draft, the cars are so much closer together now that it is harder to gain a little advantage. Back in the day it was easier to get a draft or get a toe than it is now, but you cannot race from the past, you have to race the way it is now. Unless we want to redefine the race cars we are speculating. My point is it is what it is, you can’t fix it, and you have to deal with it.”

THAT ALSO MEANS THAT SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE, CAN STILL BE SUCCESSFUL: “Not necessarily, I said it is a little tougher now to get an advantage. Five years ago the track was different and so were the cars and the tires. No matter what we all show up and try to race, sometimes you have a guy that has never raced a race wins and sometimes it takes a guy like Dale Sr. what twenty years to win.”

WOULD YOU RATHER RACE IN A TWO CAR DRAFT OR A PACK? “I would rather race in a two car draft. Because I have the opportunity to make my car better with his car and his car better with my car, where as when we are in a pack we are at the mercy of the speed of the pack and we saw last year and I would speculate why fans do not like the tandem drafting, we did not see near as many big crashes. When there are thirty cars of the forty-three in one big pack and something happens up front, you wipe out twenty cars. Fans love it, whether it is right or wrong, they love it. I like being the front car of the two car draft; I don’t like being the second car. The only good thing to being the second car is you are the last one to the scene of the crash.”

DO YOU TRY TO CONVINCE THE FANS THAT YOU KNOW THAT TANDEM DRAFTING IS BETTER? “There are no convincing fans. Way to opinionated. It is pointless. Play with the rules you are dealt with.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman , Trevor Bayne , Tommy Baldwin , Danica Patrick
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Tags chevrolet, newman, patrick, stewart