NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Notes and Quotes - Monday, Jan. 23
Note: For a full photo gallery of images from Monday's NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, click here.
Danica Skipping Indy, Will Run Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway In May
Only a few weeks away from her NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, former IZOD IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick revealed Monday that she will be skipping the 2012 running of the Indianapolis 500.
Instead, Patrick revealed during the opening stop of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway that she will be behind the wheel of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27.
“I’ve wanted to race stock cars for a little while here and it’s happening,” Patrick said. “We’ve added another challenge with the Coke 600, or Coke 6,000 as I’ve been told.”
The decision, Patrick said, was mainly a business decision. Patrick has raced in the past seven Indianapolis 500s, earning a best finish of third in 2009 while driving for Andretti Green Racing.
“I hope to do it in the future, the Indy 500 that is. Maybe it’ll be a double,” Patrick said, referring to the Coca-Cola 600 and Indianapolis 500 double that her Sprint Cup team owner Tony Stewart, John Andretti and Robby Gordon have done in the past.
Patrick is scheduled to run up to 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events this year for Stewart-Haas Racing in addition to the full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule with JR Motorsports.
Pressure is On Tony Stewart and Steve Addington in 2012
Members of the media got their first look at the new driver/crew chief combination of Tony Stewart and Steve Addington Monday and the pair already look like they’ve been working together for years.
But still, the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart admits they have a lot to learn about each other.
“We’re just a bunch of low-key, down to Earth racers, hardcore racers that just want to race. That is the attitude Steve has,” Stewart said. “I’m not putting any pressure on him (Addington). I’m looking forward to going out and racing with him.
“We both know there is going to be a period of learning each other and just little things. Daytona, that 10 day period is not going to get it done. It is going to take getting through Phoenix and Vegas and some of those races to really get in tune with each other,” Stewart added.
If Addington was concerned about any potential learning curve, he certainly didn’t show it.
“One guy isn’t going to make a big difference,” said Addington, who moved to Stewart-Haas Racing from Penske Racing. “I’ve gotta keep the communication with him going as far as the race car is concerned. Having that supporting cast, the people that are around you and throughout the organization, that is what makes you successful.”
Another new piece of the puzzle at Stewart-Haas Racing is Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s former crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing. Zipadelli joins Stewart-Haas Racing as the organizations new competition director and will also serve as Patrick’s crew chief during her 10-race venture into Sprint Cup.
Stewart Eyes Seventh Daytona Nationwide Win
Tony Stewart will attempt to win his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series race on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 25. This year Stewart will drive the No. 33 Oreo 100th Anniversary Chevrolet fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Stewart has won the last four NASCAR Nationwide season openers at Daytona and hopes to add a fifth-straight victory next month.
Aspen-Dental to Sponsor Newman; Outback Steakhouse, Quicken Loans Join SHR
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Monday that it reached a multi-year agreement with Aspen Dental, one of the largest networks of dental-care providers in the United States, as a new sponsor for Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet.
The Syracuse-based dental care provider will be the primary sponsor for Newman in 2012 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona in July and New Hampshire in September and will serve an associate sponsor at other events.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced in late 2011 that it would add Outback Steakhouse and Quicken Loans to its stable of sponsors for 2012.
New Crew Chiefs Settling In At Joe Gibbs Racing
After what many would consider a down year for the Joe Gibbs Racing organization, the team decided that a little bit of change was in order.
Darian Grubb, who won the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with Tony Stewart, was hired to replace Mike Ford as crew chief for Denny Hamlin on the No. 11 FedEx Toyota.
“I’m really excited to join Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 11 FedEx team,” Grubb said Monday. “We’re having lots of fun, we’re having lots of meetings. We’re kind of setting the course for what we want to do. We want to go out there and be competitive.”
Elsewhere, crew chief Jason Ratcliff was promoted from the JGR NASCAR Nationwide Series operation to replace Greg Zipadelli as crew chief of the No. 20 Home Depot/Dollar General Toyota driven by Joey Logano.
“J.D. (Gibbs) gave me the opportunity about seven years ago to come over and work on the Nationwide program,” said Ratcliff. “It has been great for seven years and I knew it would have to be a really special deal to move beyond that.
“They’ve given me an opportunity that fits well with a great driver, with great sponsors like Home Depot and Dollar General, and a team that is eager to go out and win races,” Ratcliff added.
The one driver at Joe Gibbs Racing that didn’t get a new crew chief is Kyle Busch, who will again partner with Dave Rogers for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Quotes of the Day
Tony Gibson, crew chief for Ryan Newman in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, on working for the last two owner-driver champions (Tony Stewart and Alan Kulwicki) in Sprint Cup competition: “He (Kulwicki) loved to race. It was all about racing and all about winning. ... Stewart has that same desire. In his heart all he wants to do is race.”
Darian Grubb, on transitioning from working at Stewart-Haas Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing: “The hardest part of the transition so far has been getting my three-year-old son to say Denny Hamlin is his favorite driver.”