Old man, eh?

Danica Patrick sits in the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet before the start of practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Danica Patrick sits in the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet before the start of practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

FORT WORTH, Tex. — Crew chief Tony Gibson is accustomed to calling his drivers “old man” on the radio. The team made light of it when Gibson was working with 50-something Mark Martin.

It might now work so well, however, in Gibson’s new capacity as Danica Patrick’s crew chief, a role that starts with the AAA Texas 500 Cup race this weekend and will continue next season.

Gibson said Friday that he’s not sure how or why he uses that expression.

“I don’t know — it slips out,” Gibson said Friday at Texas. “I don’t really know why I say that. For years it’s just been what I say. I’m not sure where that came from, to be honest with you.”

“I don’t mind,” Patrick said agreeably.

“If I do say that, I’m sorry, and I don’t mean it,” Gibson told Patrick. “I was Mark Martin’s crew chief and everybody is like ‘Man, that is really insulting to him.’ I’m like, ‘I have no idea. I don’t realize I’m saying it to him.’

“It was a big joke. I was the crew chief for Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., and it was the same way. I don’t know. It just comes out so I’m probably going to say it a few times, but if I do, I’m sorry — forgive me. As long as we’re successful, we can call each other what we want to.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.