Ford Performance NASCAR: Danica Patrick Open Interview – Dover 2

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Apache Warrior 400 – Dover International Speedway

Friday, September 29, 2017

Danica Patrick, No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion, met with the media prior to first practice at this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway.

DANICA PATRICK, No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion — CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE THIS FORD WARRIORS IN PINK PAINT SCHEME ON YOUR CAR THE NEXT TWO RACE WEEKENDS? “I have been a part of breast care awareness for many years. It’s an honor. I’ve also been able to meet a lot of survivors. Just last weekend I was in Chicago driving survivors around. I got the chance to read their bios before I went and, yeah, it makes you feel pretty small again. These women have struggled through a lot and some of them have gone through it more than once. It was a good day. They were all really excited. Some people were screaming. Actually, one lady when I stopped I said, ‘Were you screaming every time that I went into the corner?’ And she said, ‘Yes, didn’t you hear me?’ It was a great day. Proud to represent this program and be a part of its long history and incredible donations.

TONY STEWART CAME OUT AND WAS REALLY SUPPORTIVE OF WHAT YOU’VE MEANT TO THE COMPANY. WHAT HAS (HE) MEANT TO YOUR CAREER? “Well, pretty much as long as I’ve been in NASCAR he’s been a part of it. Even as early as my part-time NASCAR wit Jr. Motorsports and the transition to full-time. The plans were in the works to go to his team for almost the entire time. He’s been a part of it all. Pretty much my entire existence in NASCAR has had to do with him indirectly or directly. I”m grateful.

HAS HE BEEN AN INFLUENCE AS FAR AS GETTING YOU UP TO SPEED IN NASCAR AS WELL? “He’s an encourager but I wouldn’t say that he’s a driving coach or setting up the cars or anything like that. There have been others who have given me more help as far as driving goes. And not everyone can teach. So everybody has their abilities. I can’t be taught anything in NASCAR if I’m not here and he’s the reason, a very big reason, that I am here.”

WITH WHAT’S GOING ON IN OTHER SPORTS WITH THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, HAVE YOU GUYS HAD MEETINGS AT STEWART-HAAS BEFORE SUNDAY ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE ANTHEM? “No. As you can imagine I haven’t been at many meetings at Stewart-Haas lately. No. The extent of it is talking points. Other than that, as far as individuals go, we aren’t obligated to say anything in particular.”

AS A WOMAN IN THE SPORT, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUNG WOMAN LOOKING TO YOU AS SUCH AN INFLUENCE IN THE SPORT, IF THIS IS YOUR LAST SEASON? “That’s an honor. But at the end of the day, just as I have had to do and anyone that comes after me will have to do, they’ll have to prove themselves. They’ll have to bring a lot to the table and work really hard. Nothing that any after me brings will be simple and easy. It will be work, just as it’s work for every guy. You have to be lucky. You have to catch the right moment. The right ride. But when the opportunity presents itself, you need to be ready.”

HAVE YOU HAD TO BE REALLY TOUGH TO MAKE IT TO THIS LEVEL? “Yeah. As far as in motorsports goes there’s only one division that I haven’t been in at the top level. It doesn’t really go any further. I’ve been really fortunate to have that experience in IndyCar and NASCAR. I think when I lived in England I was probably hardened up a lot. I came home and I remember my parents saying that I had gotten a lot harder. And that’s because I was a very open, honest…naive is the word to best describe it when you’re young and have the best intentions. You assume the best of everyone.  That’s not necessarily the truth. So yeah, you have to harden up. I’ve also been given lessons along the way about certain ways to speak to people and to portray confidence and things like that. Things that are beneficial for the long run. I think that we all have insecurities. Not everything is black and white. While you want to display truth, I been taught to be very certain That is very hard. As decisive as a person that I am, you do do have to put forth that confidence through your words and actions.”

LAST WEEK RICHARD CHILDRESS AND RICHARD PETTY SAY WHAT THEY WOULD DO IF ANY EMPLOYEE PROTESTED THE ANTHEM. TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU THINK THAT NASCAR DRIVERS ARE TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN NFL OR NBA PLAYERS WHO TAKE A KNEE DURING THE ANTHEM? AND WHY WOULD THAT BE? “Well, I don’t know. Has every other sport and every other business been surveyed as to what they would do? If we’re only using two sports as an example then it’s just one of the other. How you run your business is how you run your business. You sign a contract that says you’re an independent contractor or you sign one that says you’re an employee. Maybe it comes down to that or maybe it just comes down to doing your job. You have to figure out what’s more important to you. If you think something should be done differently and you might sacrifice your job then that’s your choice. It’s your choice the other way too. In general, there’s plenty of platforms to speak your mind. So if it comes as interference to put food on your table or doing something that you love I think that you should probably go by the rules. There’s a lot of rules in this world. I really don’t drive the speed limit, but I’m supposed to. And they can give me tickets. I was thinking that I should pull out my FIA racing license the next time that I get pulled over. I don’t know how that will go over. There are rules for everybody. And even though that I have a bigger comfort zone or more ability than that cop giving me a ticket, it’s still a rule.”

WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN NASCAR? HAVE YOU HAD THE BEST EQUIPMENT TO DO WHAT YOU NEEDED TO DO? “I don’t know. The one that will stand out is qualifying on the pole for the Daytona 500 as the media results of that were something like winning the fourth biggest race of the year, even though it’s just for qualifying. That one will be the biggest one that will stand out. There have been lots of little races along the way that I have felt have been much more difficult and much more representative of the hard work that I’ve put into the sport. But those don’t stand out because those weren’t wins or top fives. But top 10’s and things like that and some runs that I’ve had have meant more to me. I definitely think pulling back a little further than individual events is the inspiration that you’ve been told you bring to people, especially to kids, that’s a role that you can’t buy your way into. You have to earn that. You just can’t stumble onto that, especially having been around a long time now. That’s probably the most meaningful.

Do I think that I’ve had the best car on track with the best engine, the best, best, best, best, best? Probably not. Have I had good teams? Absolutely? Have I had good equipment? Absolutely. The challenges are those last little details and having a group of people around you that believe that you can do it and are willing to go beyond the call of duty for the job and go the extra mile. My very first engineer in IndyCar uses a reference that comes to mind. He called it the “100 Hand Theory”. If you stick one hand out the window, it doesn’t make a difference. If your stick 100 (hands) it does. All those small, small, small little details that stack up to make something special that goes out on track, yeah, that’s something that always hasn’t been there. I do think that I’ve always had good equipment.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST IN GOING BACK TO INDYCAR? “No. I’m not planning on anything, going back to IndyCar. Never say never as I’ve said for many years because I’m getting so old and I know things can change. My life changes in ways that I wouldn’t expect it every couple of years. You just can’t cross off anything on the list completely.”

SINCE YOU MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT YOU WOULDN’T BE BACK AT STEWART-HAAS NEXT YEAR, HAVE YOU HAD MANY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT NEXT YEAR AND DO YOU FEEL BETTER OR WORSE ABOUT YOUR CHANCES OF RACING NEXT YEAR? “Yeah, I’ve had some but not a ton. As I’ve said for a good while now I let business people in my business handle that and have those conversations and figure out what options are out there and I’m going to let them do that.”

 

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