NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
AAA TEXAS 500
TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
NOVEMBER 1, 2013
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed making the transition from IndyCar to the NASCAR Nationwide series and the NASCAR Nationwide series to the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, what she has learned her first full season in the Sprint Cup Series and other topics. Full transcript:
TALK ABOUT THE COOKING CONTEST WITH DEMARCUS WARE, HOW IT WENT AND WHAT YOU COOKED.
“I definitely got launched into the cooking world when people saw the ‘Chopped’ episode or heard about it. Nationwide Insurance is partnered with Demarcus Ware. We were trying to think of something to do for the North Texas Food Bank. I was out in Raleigh doing an appearance where I met the governor and all kinds of things. I said let’s cook! There were kids involved, and I said it would be fun if they picked the ingredients. And Demarcus can cook too! It was breakfast-oriented, which was perfect because it doesn’t take as long. It was fun and we raised money; that was important. Plus I got to cook, which is always fun for me. I made French toast, scrambled eggs with cheese, peppers and spinach, and a smoothie.”
HAVING ALMOST COMPLETED A FULL SEASON, WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST TRANSITION (FROM) INDYCAR TO STOCK CARS OR NATIONWIDE TO A FULL SEASON OF SPRINT CUP?
“That’s a good question. It was definitely a bigger transition to go from IndyCars to stock cars. It’s just that I was doing it on a smaller platform with the Nationwide Series. I’m really glad that GoDaddy was supportive of the recommended process of getting to Sprint Cup. If I had gone from IndyCar straight to Sprint Cup, it would have been an incredible challenge. I’m appreciative of my partners standing behind the recommended way to do things and to have that patience and belief. Stock cars are definitely a lot different than an IndyCar. Understanding the flow of the races and what the cars do, it was important to have the base of the Nationwide Series experience before going to Cup. It’s still very hard, but it was definitely bigger going in from open wheel.”
DO YOU SEE THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF YOU BEING IN GODADDY’S SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL AS A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE CONSIDERING THE YEAR YOU’VE HAD? AND CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE CHANGE OF PHILOSOPHY FOR GODADDY’S BRANDING?
“I’ve never been 100 percent sure I’d be in their Super Bowl commercials at any point until they announced it. Their creative is very important and their marketing campaign in particular their Super Bowl commercial. I was really happy last year when they had me and I’m very happy to be in it again. I don’t necessarily see these Super Bowl commercials as a specific change in philosophy. That has kind of been happening for a little while as we saw the rollout of the Jean-Claude Van Damme series of commercials and social media pictures of him doing splits and things. The problem is that not a lot of people knew what GoDaddy did. It was smart to expand on that and in particular help the small businesses of America grow and have that platform to, in GoDaddy’s words, kick ass.”
WOULD IT HAVE CONCERNED YOU IF YOU WEREN’T IN IT?
“I suppose I would have wished that I was and wondered why not. Blake (Irving) has been supportive of this whole program and had such great things to say. It wasn’t all that long ago, he had spoken about being with me for an awful, awful long time. If I wasn’t in the Super Bowl commercials, those kinds of things are reassuring. But definitely when there are transitions in companies and with who is in charge and making decisions, you hope you are part of those decisions for a long time. All these things happening this year is very reassuring. I’ve always said that it’s most important that my sponsor benefits the most and that their company grows. I want to help them do that.”
EARLIER IN THE SUMMER THERE WAS SOME COMPARISONS TO YOUR ROOKIE-YEAR RECORD AND OTHERS WHO HAD COME UP THROUGH SPRINT CUP AND ACCOMPLISHED A GREAT DEAL AND IT WAS PRETTY GOOD. CAN YOU LOOK BACK AT YOUR PROGRESS AND HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE WHERE YOU’RE AT NOW VERSUS WHERE YOU’D LIKE TO BE?
“I feel like the rookie year I’ve had has been actually similar to Nationwide, to be honest. I wasn’t super-fast figuring out how to go fast. When I figured out how to go faster, it was riddled with bad luck, things happening and silly mistakes. Then come the end of the year I started to get it together, it did happen. A lot of that happened this year. I’d like to be running better at this point. Last week at Martinsville was definitely a better weekend for us. We have some good races coming up for us. We’ve been qualifying better at some of the tracks. At Charlotte by the end of the race, I said I didn’t know what else you could do to make it better other than throwing a couple hundred pounds more downforce on this thing so I could go faster or 50 pounds or 20 pounds or anything.
“We have been making improvements but at the same time come the end of the year, because we’ve been looking ahead to next year, we’ve also been taking bigger chances. We’re trying different things with the car that we haven’t tested because we need to get ahead for next year. While we’re not throwing away this year we are using it as a way to get ready for 2014. Those are some things that hadn’t happened at the end of my Nationwide year. It’s been similar but on a slightly diluted level because everyone is so good in Sprint Cup. If we can find our way to the next little level it’s going to be really competitive and a much more satisfying spot to be in. I can’t tell you where I expected to be. I don’t know. I’ve always said to you guys the last couple of years that everyone learns at a different pace and a different rate. There are going to be times when I do better than you expect, and there are going to be times where I do worse that you expect. That path is going to happen for a couple of years until you can get into a rhythm and know what you’re doing.”
STAYING WITH THAT THEME, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED AS A PERSON IN YOU FIRST SEASON?
“I always thought I was a patient driver and methodical, and there is a lot of that. But I really realized this year how getting a little overly excited or anxious or frustrated can bite you so hard. We’re that close to the edge all the time. You push that limit and bad things can happen. I’ve found that I’ve had to be more patient than I am normally. That’s one things that, as far as a personality in the car, that has surprised me a little bit.”
ONE OF YOUR FOLKS SAID THIS MORNING THAT THE REASON YOU DO SO WELL AT MARTINSVILLE AND SOME OTHER TRACKS IS THAT MARTINSVILLE, IN TERMS OF WHAT IT DEMANDS FROM A DRIVER AND A RACE CAR, IS A LOT LIKE INDYCAR. DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY?
“There are two things. I think that Tony Gibson (crew chief) has traditionally had good cars there. We had a really good test at Little Rock at the beginning of the year before we went to Martinsville. That really gave us a good base setup that I felt comfortable with because every driver is a little bit different. Beyond that, I think it’s a track where it’s a lot about rhythm, patience and discipline. It’s very easy there that after 20 laps to blow the entry and have mistakes. It was catastrophic to get into the marbles 1.5 lanes up. Limiting those mistakes was how I moved up so much. I think between those two things, that’s what has been working at Martinsville. Then, I don’t know maybe I’m just okay there.”
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