Danica Patrick: Kentucky Q&A transcript
June 28, 2013, Chevrolet transcript, NASCAR.com
Q: How has practice been?
A: “I think that we unloaded a little bit better than we have lately or well, in general. A little bit closer to start and made a nice change the first time and ran a little bit quicker and then we have just been trying to search and find some front grip out there. Made a few good changes. It’s hot and slippery and this is a bumpy old track and it’s slippery, especially as the sun beats down on it and rubber gets laid down and the rubber gets slippery. I think we’ve got a general direction and we’ve been loose in for the most part everywhere we go and this was the first time that we’ve been a little tight in. We’re just trying to address our issues, but then they present new issues.”
Q: Reaction to the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup
A: “I tweeted, ‘Hawks win, Hawks win,’ because who is the Cubs guy that said, ‘Cubs win, Cubs win?’ Harry Caray -- that’s why I did it. It was a really good game and it was a good series. They were playing really, really hard that’s for sure. Fast and hard and I’m sure some people lost teeth, but it was exciting to watch.”
Q: Reaction to Kyle Petty’s comments
A: “Read it yes. I just think that it’s funny how he said that I could qualify, but I can’t race because those of you that actually watch what I do would know that I can’t qualify for crap. In the race things go much better. It’s a little bit funny, but the most important thing to me is that I can keep my team happy, we’re moving in the right direction, that Go Daddy is happy and that when you walk out of the garage or walk around the track and meet a little girl that wants to grow up to be like you then you’re doing something right -- those are the things that feel right.”
Q: Does it matter what anyone says about you and does it motivate you if people talk negative about you?
A: “Thanks Kyle (Petty) thanks for motivating me. I really don’t care, I don’t, it’s true that there are plenty of people who say really bad things about me, I hear about them or I read about them or read them on Twitter. People want me to die. At the end of the day, you just get over that kind of stuff and all you can do is trust that you’re doing a good job and that’s all that matters and the people around you believe in you.”
Q: Where are you on the learning curve, and how much better do you expect to be?
A: “This is my second full year in NASCAR and it’s in the Cup Series so it’s definitely jumping in the deep end on some level. I’m grateful that I was recommended to do Nationwide before Cup, I think that was a good idea. You talk about the curve and the curve is different for everybody. I think at times on some level I think I am ahead of it and at times I feel like I am behind it. And that is just because the curve is different for everybody and I don’t know at what time it flattens out and you are where you are, but it’s not yet. I know from my perspective that I feel like I am feeling the car better and I think that over time being able to feel the car better is going to result in a car that is set up for me and will allow me to driver harder and faster and to be better. So that what I am learning now, the feelings about the car. Shoot if I got tight off the corner last year, or any other time I drove the car, I would have said it was just ‘tight off’. I would have had no idea the splitter was coming up. Now it just seems simple and straightforward to me. These are the things you learn over time and there is no se amount of time that you get to flatten that curve out, but it will someday. I have no idea when.”
Q: What is it that you have to do to silence the naysayers?
A: “You really think that I will silence naysayers? That is the answer, you don’t. I am sure every driver has them on some level. There are going to be people that believe in you and those that don’t. You surround yourself in people that believe in you. And that is what matters.”
Q: You have raced here with your IndyCar, now you are here in the Sprint Cup car. How do you prepare differently at this track?
A: “It’s a whole different thing. It’s a different line and it’s completely different. For me it’s not about coming here in a different car, it’s about me coming here and spending my first time driving around here in a Cup car for the first time and getting used to how that feels. That is it and there is almost no comparison. You are still driving around the track, but they are completely different animals.”
Q: Curious if you have to change what I assume was Ricky’s (Stenhouse Jr.) car into the parking lot after last week?
A: “I think you just explained the scenario. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you would have seen that it was taking a really long time to get into the track, and he (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) had a team meeting at the top of the hill. That was a long walk and he was going to be late if we parked down in the paddock area so being the nice girlfriend that I am, I said I would just drive the car down and park it and you get on with your meetings. So, it was really as simple as that.”
Q: Do you feel that you have an advantage at Kentucky since you are one of the newer drivers and no other drivers have had a lot of experience here?
A: “I suppose there aren’t as many set ups to fall back on and trends of the track and things like that on some level. But at the end of the day, no matter what the scenario is, or what weekend we go to, you tend to see the order fall in a similar fashion. That is just the way it goes, and it takes time to move it, so I guess on some level.”
Q: How eager are you to go back to Daytona next week and how well do you anticipate doing this time?
A: “Well, we lost that poor car at Talladega. So we are going back with our backup, which is a really good car anyway. We tested with it at the beginning of the year and I expect it to go in a similar fashion. I think we will still be pretty fast. Will we qualify on the pole and run in the top-3 or five all day? I don’t know, maybe. But the heat always changes a little bit but it’s a different car, and it’s going to be a different Hendrick engine. All that stuff just leads to a slightly different weekend. But I expect it to be somewhat similar at least from a good standpoint in my head.”
Q: Do you find it enjoying to learn a new type of car or do you find it frustrating?
A: “It’s frustrating. It takes time and you always want to get to the ultimate where you kind of end up running well every weekend. I would imagine if you asked the guys that run up front if they would like to be back in their first years and learning again if they find that more fun than to be running where they are at, then I would imagine they would say they were having more fun running up front. It’s a process and that is what makes doing well feel so good -- is the improvement that you have. It’s far more exciting to run better every weekend.