Danica Patrick met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed racing at Dover, the comparison of Dover to Bristol, how things are going with her new Nationwide Series crew chief and much more. Full transcript.
TALK ABOUT RACING HERE AT DOVER.
“Unfortunately I don’t have as much experience and as many laps as I would like to have from the Nationwide Series. I went out of the race two years ago when I did this one with a blown right front (tire) in the first run, and then earlier this year when we were here I got collected in an accident after the first stop. So, unfortunately I just don’t have enough laps. We’re definitely going to get plenty of laps this weekend with both cars combined. I do feel like it’s kind of nice to go out in the Cup car first because it’s a faster car, and I feel like it pushes me a little harder when I get in the Nationwide car and just be more comfortable. Everything happens so much slower in the Nationwide car, everything from down the straights to getting on the gas. It’s all just a little more lethargic. I think that will be a good scenario. Anybody that is doing double duty is in the car from 11:00 to 4:15 I think, basically all day. My biggest challenge is just going to be getting up to speed, especially in the Cup car and finding a time to eat something.”
YOU HAD A PRETTY DECENT RUN IN THE CUP CAR AT BRISTOL, DO YOU FEEL LIKE ANY OF THAT WILL TRANSLATE OR AT LEAST GIVE YOU A LITTLE MORE CONFIDENCE HERE?
“I hope so. We just came from the rookie meeting and (John) Darby said it’s like Bristol on steroids. I guess he said it’s like Bristol so that’s a good thing. It’s going to be fast. Everything is going to be a little faster here and he said it’s obviously more blind as well, just getting through the corners. The line is still going to move around just like Bristol I think, maybe not up to the wall obviously. Maybe it will I don’t know, I might be wrong. There’s going to be definitely a lot of moving around. He definitely talked about how the rubber builds up on the long run and how it picks up under the yellow, so I have that in mind. You know, I will just try to do my best to be smart about staying out there to get all the laps so I’m more prepared for next year.”
THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST WITH DENNY HAMLIN LEARNING TO LOVE THIS TRACK, MENTALLY IS THAT SOMETHING YOU HAVE EVER HAD TO HAVE SOMEBODY COUNSEL YOU TO TURN IT AROUND ABOUT A CERTAIN TRACK?
“Well I do believe in faking it until you believe it. That sort of mind frame or saying came about a few years ago. It’s easy to get down, it’s easy to not be happy or excited in the monotony of the same thing every weekend, and if things don’t go well, being upset and letting that get to you. We just came up with that idea of fake it until you believe it. I encourage everyone to try it. If you just smile and are happy and joke, even if you are out of control and not even being honest about how excited you are about something, eventually at some point that day you will be happy. Then you are just having a good weekend and you don’t have to fake it anymore. Its common sense that if you say you don’t like something it’s not going to go as well. I’m just trying to apply that every weekend. I can’t say I’m completely successful. It’s probably how I feel about qualifying actually. There’s plenty of times I’ve said I hate qualifying, but I know that’s not a positive thing. I know that doesn’t help me in qualifying and I need to learn to like it. I need to find the good in it and the positive attitude will translate into better results I think.”
WE ARE ALL THINKING ABOUT THE PASSING OF CHRIS ECONOMAKI, CAN YOU REFLECT ON HOW YOU HAVE ENGAGED WITH HIM OVER YOUR CAREER?
“Yeah, I’ve met him a couple of times but I definitely wouldn’t say I know him. I am aware of what he’s done and how much he means to journalism and motorsports. I can imagine that you guys all have some pretty good stories out there from him. Hopefully in light of the sadness that brings some positive thoughts to something that is sad. I think it would be more interesting to hear your perspective to be honest because you guys are the ones that had the experience with him. I just know how instrumental he’s been in certain things and how long he’s been around. It’s sad. It’s sad that any time someone who has been around forever and is a legend dies.”
ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE THIS WEEK WITH (RYAN) PEMBERTON AS YOUR CREW CHIEF AND KIND OF GIVE US AN UPDATE ON HOW THAT IS GOING ON THE NATIONWIDE SIDE?
“We had our first competition meeting this week for JR Motorsports, so I think that was a good first step for us. I think that we will definitely be more comfortable with each other and more confident in what we are doing based on last weekend and just kind of getting through those initial first meetings of how big the changes should be, what should we do going into the race, how do we communicate just in general. I think all those things the first time are the hardest. So, it should be better. It is another race weekend and it will present different challenges. Perhaps if we start further away from where we need to be car wise, it could be a little bit of a challenging weekend because I don’t think we unloaded too far off in Kentucky. We will face that challenge and be better for it if it happens, and we will be more prepared the next time that happens. The first weekend is usually the toughest.”