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Danica looks to tap into “new energy” at Stewart-Haas

Jan 9, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT

Danica Patrick Reuters

With Tony Stewart‘s recovery from a broken leg and the additions of Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick has wound up being a somewhat forgotten figure at Stewart-Haas Racing.

But as SHR expands to a four-car operation for the upcoming Sprint Cup campaign, Patrick believes that there is a “new energy” at the team that can help her shake off what was a tough rookie season.

However, she also knows that her No. 10 team has its work cut out for them, too.

“We’re gonna be better because I have more experience, and more experience together as a team,” Patrick said when asked about what will make the No. 10 better in 2014. “Because we have more resources, more people. Because we have a new energy, because we’re going to use our resources better as a team – I think those are all reasons why we’re gonna do better.

“Beyond that, it’s going to be hard work. It’s not like you can just say, ‘Well, we have all of these things going for us so it’ll be easier.’ You still have to put the effort in and it’s who pushes hardest and who works hardest that tends to get the better results.”

After finishing eighth at the Daytona 500 to open last season, Patrick was unable to claim another Top-10 finish the rest of the way and wound up 27th in the Sprint Cup standings.

Going into 2014, she sees several areas that she and her team can improve upon, from her qualifying efforts to fine-tuning what she called the “tiny little things” on her car to gain better balance and set-ups.

“The core focus is preparing better cars, bringing as good a car to the track as possible,” Patrick said. “That comes through using resources and being able to build them more similar to each other as they come out of production, so that we can keep up with the cars and we’re all driving the same thing.”

As she continues to grow as a stock car driver, Patrick is also continuing to manage her expectations. Before visiting with the media, her boss, Stewart, mentioned that he’d be disappointed “if all three of us don’t make the Chase” – the “three” referring to himself, Harvick and Busch.

However, he also noted that Patrick has the potential to one day become a regular contender for wins. Patrick herself admitted she’s not at that point yet but that she is grateful to learn from such a strong group of teammates in the meantime.

“What you’re always going to get from all of us [at SHR] is honesty and that’s the truth – I’m not there yet,” she said in reference to Stewart’s comments. “I’m not in position to win every weekend, and that’s gonna take some time.

“[But] I’m in a fortunate position that I have three teammates that can win every weekend and make it into the Chase. That’s incredible for me to learn from those [drivers], and that they’re very strong characters that are going to push the team in the right direction and teach me how to do that.”

  1. givemethehighgear - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    If you have “new energy” but aren’t any good at your craft, then aren’t you just going to be an energetic crappy driver? I bet the #10 car wishes it had “new talent” behind the wheel.

  2. autoserv3020 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    For some reason, the title of this article is all wrong.

  3. jbndfan - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    She is nothing but a glorified T shirt seller. She wouldn’t be driving in NASCAR if she wasn’t pretty its all about sponsorship money and the only thing she is good at is posing in a bikini and filming commercials. GO AWAY DANICA

  4. scott386 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch won’t give her the time of day…..
    And she’s not getting “better” she did worse last season the second time she went to a track..
    Her driving through pit road at almost race speed the second time she was at Talladega is a perfect example of her lack of skill…..
    After two years I have yet to have a Danica fan tell me any facts or stat that says she belongs here….

  5. rcngrnpa - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    I’ll take Jessica Zemmken and her woo sprint car over Dumica, she’s sweeter has a personality, way hotter looking and can drive the wheels off it!

  6. richardjlewis - Jan 13, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    What the fans really want is the fastest cars and the best drivers to compete. Those drivers can be men or women. We just want to see the 43 fastest cars race and right now that is not happening. Sponsors are pouring money into drivers and teams that are not in contention to win or even finish top 20. Nascar needs to craft the rules so that on any Sunday anyone of the 43 can win and if they can’t to get rid of them and let a team in contention race. The big concern for me is not the start and park teams. It is the start and crash teams.

  7. worknman24hours - Jan 14, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Frankly,I wish Danica would go back to open wheeled cars and if she could get a drive in Formula One, oh boy,I can hear the laughing from here, if Danica could secure a drive in Formula One, I wish she’d go do it while she is still able to draw that big sponsorship money.

    Because that is what a Formula One drive takes-people willing to put their money with you to get you in a Formula One car.

    And if Danica just earned one frikken point in all her time in Formula One it would be worth it to put a woman in the sport-actually on the track- and an American woman at that.

    You Go Little Bits!

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