Patrick heads into 2015 in final season with team, sponsor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Danica Patrick begins her third full season at NASCAR’s top level facing an uncertain future.
Her contract with Stewart-Haas Racing is in its final year, as is the contract between primary sponsor GoDaddy and the race team. But Patrick, who is 32 and still adapting to NASCAR after seven seasons in IndyCar, has no intention of leaving her current race team.
“Well, I ain’t getting any younger and I don’t know how many times I can change my career,” she said Tuesday.
Patrick said she planned to remain at SHR as long as she has the support of co-owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, and the support of GoDaddy and other sponsors. She said she has had discussions with GoDaddy about the future.
“We have been talking about it for quite awhile,” she said. “They want to (continue) and we just have to make sure that we keep giving each other value. I know they give me value, so for me, it’s about giving back to them and we have been doing a lot of great things lately to promote their company.”
Haas said he has been pleased with Patrick’s progress — she had three top-10 finishes last season and showed late-season speed — and there have been talks already on an extension. He compared her with Joey Logano, who needed time to adapt after his move to Cup racing and his career didn’t take off until he left Joe Gibbs Racing for Penske Racing before 2013.
“I think she has done good,” Haas said. “Looking back at a Joey Logano, he spent all those years at Gibbs and it took him six years to get going. I don’t think that she’s that far off the mark. She’s probably on the mark, really.”
Patrick had progressed nicely under former crew chief Tony Gibson, but will paired this season with Daniel Knost after a November crew swap with Kurt Busch. She ran the final three races of the season with Knost and hopes the two will develop a solid rapport.
“I think putting Daniel with her is a good change because he’s very, very technical and he’s the kind of guy that will sit there and explain exactly what the car’s doing, and if we do this, this is the result you’re going to get,” Haas said. “It’s really a different way of racing than, say, a Tony Gibson, and a little different perspective gives you different results.”