CHEVY MENCS AT DAYTONA: Danica Patrick Press Conf. Transcript

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CLASH
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 10, 2018

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 7 GODADDY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed competing in her final Daytona 500, what she will be doing after Sunday is complete, her thoughts on her new team and many other topics. Full Transcript:

AS A FORMER POLE WINNER FOR THIS RACE AND HAVING SOME HIGHS…
“Being a former pole winner and watching myself not out there in Clash practice you mean?”

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ARE YOU RELAXED GOING INTO YOUR FINAL RUN?
“Yeah, I feel good. I think that if there is anything that I hope to feel when I get in the car in a couple of hours is familiar. It should all be familiar, but it’s a new team and it is new stuff to sit in. It should all be really, really, close, but hopefully it feels familiar and I slip right into it. In fact, this is not a different start than I had last year. This is the identical same start to the season I had last year. I never got in the car between the last race in Homestead and the first practice in Daytona here. The only thing that would have been different is I would have been out in Clash practice, but other than that it is all the same.”

YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CLASH DO YOU WISH YOU WERE OUT THERE TO KIND OF GET ACCLIMATED TO YOUR NEW TEAM?
“Yes, it all came together too late. In fact, thinking about what we should have done came together too late. A couple of days ago I was thinking to myself that we should have run the back-up car in the Clash. That way… we don’t want to crash the primary anyway, so we are going to be careful in the duels, then you don’t have to worry about practicing too hard because you will have already had Clash race. I was like, man, where was I on that one? And then all goes well, last year I finished well in the Clash, you could still have a back-up. So, it would have just been a good gamble to use the back-up for, but didn’t think of it soon enough and was honestly just really concerned about the work getting done to put the primary car out there for the (Daytona) 500. Just came together too late and thought of it too late. It would have been good practice. It always is. It’s good for these guys too. It’s good for everybody. It’s not like just because I’m in a new situation it’s good, it’s just a nice refresher.”

TONY EURY, JR. SAID THAT BACK IN THE DAY IN THE HAULER HE WOULD HAVE A SIGN POINTING TO THE LOUNGE THAT SAID KEY WEST.
“Yeah, we were Key West. We were team Key West. Pops (Tony Eury, Sr.) was the serious side. We were the fun side.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE IN KEY WEST?
“Totally, yeah, it’s beautiful out there and Tony (Eury, Jr.) is always funny. There is probably not anybody in this room that hasn’t gotten a feel for what Tony Eury, Jr. is like and that is a really good spirited, happy guy that knows what he is doing. That to be honest is and will be the most critical element to come together for this program was having him.”

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR EXPERIENCE PARTICULARLY IN NASCAR CONTRIBUTING TO THE FACT THAT SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD, MAYBE SOONER NOW, WE ARE GOING TO SEE WOMEN WINNING RACES, COMPETING IN THE TOP-FIVE WITH REGULARITY, HAVE YOU KIND OF SET A FOUNDATION FOR THAT?
“I don’t know. I mean, when was the first woman in NASCAR? The 50’s? So, it’s been 68 years. So, I don’t know. It depends on if they are interested in racing and if they want to come through. I think that if there is one difference that I feel is that you have to get a team behind you, but to believe in you and maybe it’s a little harder because women have not proved themselves as much as men, but every driver has to prove themselves to their team. There is still that responsibility and that challenge is still at hand for every single driver to find a group that believes in them and gives them what they need and puts them in the right scenario. Perhaps it’s a little bit harder for me, just based on history, but I’ve had great opportunities as a driver. Sometimes I think it’s been better than others, but that could probably be said for every single driver out there.”

PLAYER’S TRIBUNE RELEASED YOUR EXPOSE YESTERDAY. WHAT DOES THAT TYPE OF REFLECTION LIKE FOR YOU IN WRITING THAT PIECE?
“It was funny. It was a conversation that was kind of fluid and it really gave some perspective to the good that I will miss as well as the things I won’t miss (laughs). Like are you excited to be back at Daytona. Don’t ask that question. If I can give any recommendation of all the questions that you guys ask this next 10 days, don’t ask that one. Because there is no really good answer, yes and no, maybe, we will see. It’s too simple of a question and not deep enough, that would be my only recommendation based on the Player’s Tribune piece. But, it was nice. Honestly, it’s just really like, we will roll out some stories through the Tribune with me that will be kind of those more intimate interesting stories from before and after Daytona and before and after Indy. Be on the lookout for another story after it’s over with and … oh my God that car doesn’t look like it’s going straight (looking at the TV monitors in the media center). Cars look interesting on TV don’t they sometimes? So, yeah, it is just part of explaining to people and giving more information on how I feel.”

LAST NIGHT NATALIE DECKER TALKED ABOUT YOU AND ABOUT HOW WHEN SHE WAS IN HERE BECAUSE SHE WON THE POLE FOR THE ARCA RACE. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO ARE TRYING TO MOVE UP INTO SOME OF NASCAR’s TOP TIER SERIES?
“I answered that question. I just answered it.”

SO, YOU THINK THAT JUST THAT, JUST GETTING A TEAM THAT BELIEVES IN THEM IS THE THING JUST TO FIND SOMEBODY?
“Yeah, that includes the owner, the crew, everybody.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE WOMEN HAVE EXTRA PRESSURE BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO EXPECT THEM TO CARRY THE BANNER FOR THEIR GENDER?
“Only if they feel like they do. I mean I really believe that. I’ve never felt like that. I don’t. My own banner is bigger than any other banner for what I want to accomplish for myself and then the trickle-down effect is what it is. But, no one expects more than me.”

YOU ARE KIND OF KEEPING AN EYE ON THIS PRACTICE. DO YOU ANTICIPATE WATCHING RACING WHEN YOU ARE NOT A RACER ANYMORE?
“I don’t really watch a lot of racing when I’m still racing. I mean, obviously, I was in 38 of them or 37 or sometimes 36, but I’m sure I will watch some of it when it’s somewhat convenient or when it’s a big one. I imagine myself to be just like an average fan. Like that watches when it’s on. If I’m busy traveling or in an airplane or going somewhere or doing an appearance or whatever it is, then I can’t watch it and I’m sure I will be interested every single weekend as to how it went and the results for sure and when the big ones come along I will want to make time for it. I imagine myself to be like a regular fan, to be honest.”

JUST TO CLARIFY THE CLASH PART OF THIS, YOU WERE ELIGIBLE FOR THE RACE, YOU KNEW THAT. BUT WAS IT A PART OF THE SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE THAT YOU WERE OFFERING?

“No, it wasn’t necessarily. It was really just to do Daytona and Indy and the Clash wasn’t a priority. It was just a matter of getting everything else going. I’m sure that if everything would have come together quicker, as I’ve said many times to people over the last few months, I’m surprised it’s taking so long. If it would have come together sooner, I’m sure that we would have been able to put something together for the Clash. But, I’m sure it would have been extra, you know what I mean? It’s not free. Turning a wheel, turning the engine on, it’s never free. So, we would have surely found a way to put something together, but it just didn’t come together fast enough. With the amount of time we had, it was really important that (crew chief) Tony (Eury, Jr.) and Tommy (Baldwin) and everybody putting the deal together and getting the car time to get the Hawk-EYE (optical scanning station) and all those things that are important in making sure that everything passes, there was no time to really worry too much about anything other than the primary (car).”

THERE IS SO MUCH WORK THAT YOU HAVE TO DO BEING HERE, OBVIOUSLY, BUT HOW MUCH HAVE YOU ALLOWED YOUR MIND TO SOAK IN THE MEANING OF THIS WEEK AND THAT THIS WILL BE YOUR FINAL NASCAR START?

“I actually felt like Homestead (’17) was that. I know it wasn’t the last one, but just with the announcement, there was so much loaded emotion in that weekend that to me, that had a lot of a feel for kind of the end on some level, of racing in the Cup Series. I say I’ll be fine and I’m excited and I mean like, okay, everybody in the room, imagine when you leave here on Sunday, you don’t have anything to do really for a couple of months. Seems pretty exciting, doesn’t it? Right? That’s how I feel. But when I think next Sunday comes, I’m sure I’ll be a lot more retrospective or introspective and emotional about the finality of it and you know; just have a little bit more perspective. But right now, I’m fine. I’m good. I’m excited about it all. I made the decision last year that this is what I was good with. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been doing it. So, I’ve had a lot of time to mentally transition. And that transition started last year. So, I’m good. I’m ready. But, we just have to keep my dad away from me, to be honest. He’s always the emotional one that’s going to be like all choked-up and tearing with sunglasses and crunching on his water bottle and he’s going to be like, just have fun out there! And, I’m going to be like, gosh keep it together because I have to. So, I’m sure my whole family will, but I know my dad.”

IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT YOU WANT TO DO ON RACE DAY OR AFTER THE RACE BECAUSE IT IS YOUR FINAL RACE? WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR MONDAY AFTER THE DAYTONA 500?

“Well, I really hope that I finish and that I’m hopefully in contention. That’s really my hope for the Daytona 500. There’s no such thing as a runaway here. So, you just hope that you’re in contention. The only way that things could get split up is that somehow the end of the race turns into a long stint. And there’s a pit stop and there’s a broken-up group. That’s all that you can think of that would make it smaller, but you hope that you’re in contention and that you’re there. What are my plans for Monday? Hydrate from Sunday?

WELL IF YOU WIN, THERE WILL BE A FEW THINGS ON YOUR PLATE ON THAT MONDAY

‘Extra hydration.”

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