Patrick thinks new car will work to her benefit
Danica Patrick believes new Gen-6 NASCAR Sprint Cup car will work to her benefit.
“At some point in time you have to learn how to go Cup racing,” said Patrick, who will run the full Cup schedule for Stewart-Haas Racing this year. “I think it’s that time and I’m ready.”
“Everybody is starting at the same base,” said Stewart, a three-time Cup champion Stewart. “Nobody’s had time in it more than anybody else—that is a positive to having a new car for somebody that has less experience than some of the veterans.
“We’re all kind of learning the car at the same time. It evens out that experience.”
“Ignorance can be bliss in those situations where I’m going to try to achieve something with the car that is not really possible anymore with the new design,” she said.
“I won’t take any bad habits in. I won’t take any preconceived ideas (about) what (it) needs to be doing or can be doing for me on the track. It’s a clean slate and that’s a good thing.”
“We are learning together and there is a bigger checklist of things to go through and that creates a good environment when everybody is working toward a same goal and working together,” Patrick said.
Stewart said the new car was much easier to drive than he thought. He said in early tests it drove nearly as well as the previous car when it was introduced in 2007, which means it has the potential to drive much better.
The Gen-6 car has more rear downforce, which Patrick believes will be beneficial for her.
“I really enjoy high-grip tracks,” Patrick said. “Getting a car that has more grip in it on these intermediate and short tracks is going to be a really good thing for me … especially on those hot days in the summer, it’s going to be nice to have some more downforce in those cars.”
Patrick said she would take the same approach to learning the Cup car as she did when learning any type of racecar.
“I know I have a lot to learn,” Patrick said. “I’m not afraid to ask questions and I’m not afraid to try it and know I don’t have the best way yet or know I don’t know how to do it yet.
“A lot of people have commented on how quickly I learn things. … I know I don’t have it figured out. I’m willing to try anything.”