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Stewart: There’s “a lot of potential” for Danica Patrick

Nov 30, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

Aaron's 312 Getty Images

Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart knows that Danica Patrick still has a while to go before she can perform consistently in Cup. But he also feels that Patrick has a good future ahead of her in America’s most popular form of racing.

“I see room for improvement, but I see a lot of potential,” he said to the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer. “I think she realizes to a certain degree she took a big bite doing this as early as she did, and I think everybody’s judging of her, grading of her – I think you have to look at how much time she’s really had in a stock car.

“The time she’s been in a stock car, she’s done a pretty good job. I value it for what it is, not necessarily the result at the end of the day.”

Patrick had a tough rookie season in 2013, posting just one Top-10 finish at the season-opening Daytona 500 back in February. Prior to this year, Patrick had only logged 10 Cup starts in 2012 to go along with her then full-time duties in the Nationwide Series.

According to Stewart, Patrick is still figuring out how to get the most out of her car at the start of races but usually picks up the pace after her Stewart-Haas Racing team makes adjustments.

In her own comments to Fryer, Patrick agrees.

“When you need to get to the very limit of the car, especially when things are challenging, is when it shows up,” she said. “Like first laps of practice, or qualifying, restarts, start of a green flag run – all the things when you are testing the limit and having to be confident and know the limits.

“I don’t know them yet, and I’m not confident. When the car is right, it’s all good, I will gain spots. There is a big contrast in those moments.”

However, you’d think that there will be at least some improvement on Patrick’s part in 2014 now that she’s gotten a year of experience with the Cup machines. She’s still in a good spot with the resources of SHR and the veteran support of Stewart and now, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.

Perhaps we expected a bit more out of Patrick this past year, but we also have to remember that this was – and still is – a multi-year process. Expectations will increase in her sophomore season, but for both the team and for its observers, they need to be managed ones.

  1. indycar02 - Nov 30, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    she needs to get a HAIR CUT! what a mess, cant even see many of her sponsors on her uniform, and shes ok with that (shakes head!).

  2. sportfan2 - Dec 1, 2013 at 6:04 AM

    “Perhaps we expected a bit more out of Patrick” Who is “we”? Won one race :)

    She will only win when conditions are perfect for her kind of racing. Which is to hope the leaders drop out.

  3. dan46778 - Dec 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Yeah she has potienal has a model

    • m113461 - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      She only looks like a model when she is standing next to the other 42 drivers,away from them not so much.

  4. scott386 - Dec 2, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    Of course Tony is going to say that…In public. I wonder what he really thinks..?

  5. chevyhhr123 - Dec 2, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Of course Tony is going to say she has potential to keep GoDaddy as a main sponsor to his team since today news that NBC Sports will be carrying NASCAR Series which GoDaddy is the main sponsor of ABC 7, ESPN Sports, perhaps Dancia days of racing in NASCAR are number, if GoDaddy doesn’t come on-board with NBC Sports as a main sponsor?

  6. Linda - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Sounds to me like it is time for TS to lay off the pain pills . . .

  7. m113461 - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    She drives for a top funded team and is being lapped 3-5 almost every race.Maybe all the pain killers he is on has made him delusional.

  8. jr240483 - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    and once again the bashers are out in full force. kinda sad when none of them cant do any better.

    for one this transitioning from open wheel to stock cars is definitely not easy and the results of hornish and montoya are proof that it isnt easy which is why she went to smoke in the first place.

    and lets remember it wasnt easy for him either.

    she will get better in time , but time is running out fast cause the faithful fans wont stay that way for long.

  9. worknman24hours - Dec 7, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Danica has great potential but not in NASCAR.

    She would do better going to Formula One for three years-packing back a hundred million dollars in worldwide sponsorship money and then coming back across the pond back into Indycar.

    Danica will never be allowed to win any championship in NASCAR.

    That will never happen.

    In fact, I’d be surprised if she ever wins a race in NASCAR.

    And for all the haters, Little Bits can drive the hell out of a race car.

    So skill is not the problem.

  10. thingsarefalling - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    The only potential that Stewart sees in Danica is the potential to bring in more Go Daddy money by letting her cruise around on the track while a race is in progress. It will be interesting to see the 2014 season unfold. If she has even a little bit of the talent that the media claims she has, then she should do much better than this year. If she is still struggling, then maybe it is time to move on.

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