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Gibson likely to be with Patrick in 2013

September 29, 2012, Holly Cain, Special to NASCAR.COM,

DOVER, Del. -- Stewart-Haas Racing still searching for a new crew chief for Newman's team

We now know an important detail of Danica Patrick's move to full-time Sprint Cup Series competition next season.

Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli said Saturday the most likely scenario is for the crew -- and crew chief Tony Gibson -- currently working on the No. 39 Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman to move to Patrick for 2013.

"[Ryan Newman's crew has been together] four years, and we've either got to pick that program up or it's going to blow up."


"Right now, we're kind of looking at what's best for her and surrounding her with the best people we can," Zipadelli said. "They [No. 39 crew] are upbeat and positive, and that's the important thing. And they've worked together with a lot of different drivers.

"I have a lot of respect for [Tony] Gibson, his glass is always half-full, he's always upbeat with what he does. So right now, that's how I look at it. It's easier to do this than it is to bring somebody else in that we don't know as well as him. His disposition and his attitude, I think, will add a lot to her and that program."

Patrick said Saturday she hadn't heard any final decision yet but was very enthusiastic about the prospect of working with Gibson and crew.

"There's been lots of ideas thrown around," said Patrick who will be making her seventh Cup start Sunday at Dover International Speedway. "But I've liked Tony since the first time I met him. He's level-headed, I've always thought. He listens to me when I'm talking, and that always means a lot, and I feel like I always get respect from him.

"That's the culture that Tony Stewart and all the guys there create: everybody's happy. He [Gibson] definitely has a good crew, and I get along with those guys a lot.

"Whatever happens, I'm sure it will be a great scenario for me. When things have been talked about -- especially from the crew chief perspective -- the answer I have is, 'I trust you.'"

As for Newman's potential crew, Zipadelli said the team currently is speaking with prospective crew chiefs and hopes to have an announcement as early as next week.

"[They've been together] four years, and we've either got to pick that program up or it's going to blow up,'' Zipadelli said, noting a change in personnel may help the No. 39 car, too. "I'm just trying to look at what's best for everything. We haven't made all the decisions yet, but I'm trying to get all the pieces to fall together pretty quick so we can move on."

For his part, Newman cautioned Saturday that nothing has been finalized yet.

"I'm focused on what we have to do be competitive this year and next," said Newman, who qualified eighth for Sunday's AAA 400. "And whatever we have to do is what we have to do as a team. It is no different for ourselves or the 10 [Patrick] or the 14 [Stewart]. It's about what we have to do, to be the strongest together.

"I don't know what the final answer is going to be on anything. It's no different than what I said when we started four years ago, two years ago or right now. It's all about what we have to do be the strongest together as an organization."