Danica will have to get used to `old man’

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (AP) - Danica Patrick will have to get used to being called “old man” sometimes.

That’s the phrase Tony Gibson, her new NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief, uses to refer to drivers he works with, like Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the past. That’s not likely to change with Patrick.

“It just comes out for some odd reason,” Gibson said Friday. “If I do say that, I am sorry and I don’t mean it. … I’m probably going to say it a few times, but if I do, I’m sorry, forgive me. As long as we are successful, we can call each other what we want to.”

Sitting at a podium with Gibson at Texas, Patrick laughed and said she won’t mind. She doesn’t really care what people call her.

“(Former chief) Tony (Eury) Jr. would call me `babe’ and things like that on the radio, and he would apologize,” Patrick said. “I’m like I really don’t care what you call me. I don’t care if you pronounce my name wrong as long as it starts with a `D.’”

Gibson has been Ryan Newman’s crew chief for Stewart-Haas Racing, but is going to be the chief for the No. 10 Go Daddy Racing Chevrolet when Patrick moves to the Cup Series full-time next season.

They are getting a jump on 2013 by working together her last two races this year, this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and then at Phoenix.

“We don’t want her to adapt to our setups, we want to adapt to her driving style. These two races will be crucial in gaining a head start on that,” Gibson said. “She has the capabilities of winning races. She’s a winner, so we don’t have to teach her how to win. We just have to make sure that our race team is solid and can comfort her and give her the things she needs to win in the Cup Series.”

Patrick is going into the ninth of 10 Cup races in a partial schedule co-owner Tony Stewart set up to be challenging while getting her some valuable experience. Her best finish was 25th at Chicago.

Gibson has a long history in NASCAR, and was the car chief and a mechanic for Alan Kulwicki’s championship team in 1992. He has also worked with two-time champion Bill Elliott and was part of two of Jeff Gordon’s titles before time with Michael Waltrip and Martin. He is good friends with Eury from their days working together at Dale Earnhardt Inc., and believes the pairing with Patrick will work.

“It’s a good fit for my race team, we’re old-school redneck racers. We are the Tony Jr., Tony Sr., style of racers and I think that fits Danica pretty good,” Gibson said. “They have done a great job as a company at Stewart-Haas putting the right people with Danica, and her with us, because we’re going to grow together. We’re going to grow fast.”

Still, even Patrick realized the irony of how comfortable she is with old-school racers considering her fancy off-track persona and her previous time in the IndyCar Series.

“I buy fancy things, I eat at fancy restaurants, drink fancy wines,” she said, trying to explain the differences. “I think back to being a kid growing up and go-kart racing. That sort of style is also why I love NASCAR in general, everything from the language to describe the car, to the style of people and the camaraderie. It just reminds me of growing up and racing all over the East Coast and the South.”

When asked why Patrick and Gibson get along, Stewart quickly pointed out they’re racing together and not eating dinner together.

But how will Patrick respond the first time she is referred to as “old man” by Gibson?

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like
  • **FILE** In this April 23, 2013 photo, Cuba's former pitcher Conrado Marrero, the world's oldest living former major league baseball player, holds up a baseball with his signature at his home, two days before is 102nd birthday, as he holds an unlit cigar in his mouth in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

    Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday

  • Washington Wizards guard John Wall, left, and Bradley Beal celebrate the Wizards' 101-99 win as Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich walks off the court after missing two free throws during the overtime period of Game 2 in an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    HARRIS: D.C. not yet spellbound by Wizards, but they’re no illusion

  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III watches Baylor and Central Florida play during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

    Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race

  • Washington Wizards forward Nene, left, guards Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer during the first half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Chicago, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Early returns show projections of physical Wizards-Bulls series were correct

  • Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) celebrates after catching a 25 yard touchdown in the first quarter as the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles in Monday Night NFL football at FedExField, Landover, Md., Monday, September 9, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    Dan Snyder: DeSean Jackson ‘really a good guy’

  • Celebrities In The News
  • ** FILE ** In this March 19, 2013, file photo, Justin Bieber performs during a concert at Bercy Arena in Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

    Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

  • FILE - This Jan. 8, 2014 file photo shows singer Chris Brown, right, arriving at the District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington. After a brief postponement, singer Chris Brown's trial on an assault charge is scheduled to begin in Washington. Brown's trial had been set for Monday but was delayed while lawyers tried to work out whether his bodyguard will testify. It's unclear whether the trial will start Wednesday, as Brown's lawyers seem to want, or if further legal maneuvering will delay it.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    Chris Brown assault trial delayed again

  • Justin Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial