DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- because that anyone who believed Danica Patrick would win races in NASCAR and also finish far better than 24th in the standings over five seasons, Patrick has actually a message:
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"What I came to
"You observed me v my eyes. You experienced the potential. Friend hoped for what ns hoped for and believed it to be possible."
But it didn"t happen. What went wrong? Or go nothing walk wrong? to be Danica Patrick among a long list of IndyCar chauffeurs -- including past champion Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr. -- that attempted to change to NASCAR and failed to obtain much traction? Or go something else stymie her initiatives over the previous seven years?
"I had twenty years on her when she started in a stock car," said 2014 NASCAR Cup champion Kevin Harvick, her teammate in ~ Stewart-Haas Racing for the past four seasons. "That is experience and also the points that come v that. Girlfriend are never ever going to make up that ground. As long as i am tho racing, ns am going to be two decades ahead regardless."
With one win in one IndyCar race and also a third-place finish in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 among her accomplishments, Patrick tried to make the change to share cars together smooth as possible, contending part-time in the Xfinity series in 2010 and 2011 while additionally competing in a complete IndyCar schedule. She then completed in the full Xfinity schedule -- she finished 10th in the standings, the highest possible for a woman in that series -- in 2012 and raced select Cup events before heading to Cup full time in 2013.
She knew so small about stock cars that when her an initial crew chief, Tony Eury Jr., speak in their first test about the "yaw" of the car as it turned, she thought he to be saying "y"all" and couldn"t number out what that meant.
"She had a good opportunity financially to come right into NASCAR," stated Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner the JR Motorsports. "There to be a most money there. Everyone would have taken that opportunity, but it was more of a an obstacle than anyone can have accomplished. Not simply a female.""She is breaking obstacles down, which i think puts her in a distinct category. She demands to it is in praised because that what she"s done and also accomplished."
Fox sporting activities analyst Jeff Gordon ~ above Danica Patrick"s career in NASCAR
The greatest difference between an IndyCar and also a stock vehicle -- and there are plenty -- is most apparent when an IndyCar twitches due to the fact that it often means a difficult crash a few seconds later. A share car, once driven through the stars that the sport, frequently twitches.
"If an IndyCar moves approximately in the back, girlfriend wreck," claimed Eury, that will be her crew chief because that her last Daytona 500 top top Sunday. "These things relocate around. You deserve to hang castle out. That was her biggest learning curve.
"Before she obtained here, she didn"t wreck gyeongju cars. She didn"t tear up any cars. She"s tore up part stuff in Cup simply from the straightforward fact of trying too difficult or no of her own doing, somebody taking advantage of her because she"s a girl and, "Hey ns ain"t walk to get beat through a girl." Those space the type of things that have actually plagued her."
Eury said when he would occupational with Patrick, he tried come make sure he had actually the car collection up with certain aspects for this reason she could handle the well. They had actually some success, win an Xfinity pole in ~ Daytona in 2012, a fourth-place finish at ras Vegas in 2011 and also that top-10 finish in the standings.
"She didn"t come into the sport to collection a car up, she came to the sport to discover to drive it," Eury said.
Not all vehicle drivers are knowledgeable top top setups. Those who deserve to perform despite not having actually that knowledge don"t have anything come sweat. Those that don"t will discover a toxic atmosphere.
Patrick, 35, had actually a roller-coaster journey in Cup. Driving because that Stewart-Haas Racing, Patrick earned seven top-10s -- a record for a female in the NASCAR Cup series -- yet it take it 190 career starts. She perfect in the command lap in 38 percent of she races.
"I don"t think she was ever really comfortable to run a loose car," said Stewart, co-owner the SHR. "That"s just inherent of anybody the runs one IndyCar, due to the fact that IndyCars, you"re sit so far forward in those dare that when they obtain loose, girlfriend don"t generally save them.
"These dare just naturally in the last 5 years have gained freer, freer and freer."
"She didn"t come into the sports to set a car up, she concerned the sport to learn to journey it," crew chef Tony Eury Jr. Stated of Danica Patrick transitioning native IndyCar to NASCAR.Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoPatrick sat on the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, the only such accomplishment for a female in NASCAR history, which spans 2,534 Cup races. She eighth-place end up in that occasion marks the finest finish because that a mrs in NASCAR"s greatest race.
"They simply didn"t know what she essential out that the car," stated Juan Pablo Montoya, one Indy 500 champion and former Formula One winner that won two Cup road-course gyeongju in seven complete NASCAR periods at Ganassi. "For me, it to be tough due to the fact that it take it me a couple of years to really obtain the cave of it, and also then i did.
"And when I did, castle started transforming everybody
Patrick has actually insinuated the at time she didn"t feel the complete support of her team, saying together far earlier as September that "I don"t think it"s always constant" the she had world fighting because that her. However that is herbal at most teams when chauffeurs struggle, and her teammates regularly outran her. Last year, Harvick and also Kurt Busch do the playoffs and Clint Bowyer finished 18th in the standings if Patrick to be 28th.
Obviously, SHR feels it did every little thing it could, and also Stewart pointed to a disagreement in between Patrick, him and SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli over whether to keep Tony Gibson as her crew cook late into her second season or to go to an engineer, which she was an ext used come on the IndyCar side. The team make the change.
"We provided her every little thing we offered everybody else on the team," Stewart said. "She was the one that didn"t think in
"I"ve retained that under my belt the entirety time. Lately, I"m hearing that she keeps saying that the team didn"t believe in her, which isn"t right. We all thought in her. But the ideal crew cook that we had and also the best pairing for she was the one she didn"t want. She to be her own worst opponent in the equation."
It definitely wouldn"t go under in background as the first disagreement end who must crew cook a driver, and the results showed the two various crew chiefs she had after Gibson didn"t make much of a difference as she continued to struggle behind her SHR teammates.
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"I experienced cars that were placed on the gyeongju track as with everybody else"s, and at our shop, every the cars space prepared and finished by the same people," Harvick said about whether Patrick had full support. "A the majority of that goes back to input.
"You have to have the entry to assist build her team walking forward, so few of those points fall brief possibly from perhaps not acquiring the input the the team required to push the dare in a an excellent direction."