Zipadelli isn’t angry at Patrick, and he said he ultimately views Sunday’s incident as a learning experience in a year that is supposed to prepare her for next season’s jump to a full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series. But Stewart-Haas Racing had added Kansas to her schedule because the repaved track was opened early for testing and Patrick could gain invaluable seat time over the course of the weekend.
A bad decision midway through the race left her with nothing to show for her efforts.
“She should know better than to put herself in that position and to wreck a race car and to not finish a race,” Zipadelli said . “You do not learn anything sitting in the garage. I know where she was coming from, she was frustrated. That doesn’t make it right. But do I think she learned from that? And do sometimes those things need to be learned? Yeah.
“But I was disappointed because I thought she had done a really good job and had made significant gains from practice to the race. She was on the lead lap, and could have finished 18th or 20th. So I said she should know better because I say things I think need to be said at the time.”
“At some point I have to stand up for myself so this doesn’t happen with other people. I chose today,” she said.
“I don’t know if there’s jealousy there that she’s got this ride, because there is some of that with her, we see some of that from a lot of people in this sport,” he said.
“I don’t want Danica’s ride, I’m not jealous of Danica’s ride,” Cassill said Wednesday. “When I do race Danica, it’s been for 30th, and we don’t need to have problems racing for 30th. We need to show each other more respect racing back there. She could have had a good finish and she didn’t. I hope we can both race each other better so she doesn’t miss out on opportunities like that. We both are trying to make it. It’s not easy for Danica, and it’s not easy for me.”
It’s certainly not been easy for Patrick since she moved full-time this season from IndyCar to NASCAR, where she’s running a full Nationwide Series schedule in addition to her Cup schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s at SHR where she was paired with Zipadelli, and Patrick is the third driver he’s had at the start of their Cup career. All have presented a unique set of challenges.
He was first paired with Tony Stewart when Stewart made the full-time leap from IndyCar to NASCAR. The driver was temperamental but his talent was unquestioned, and the duo won three races their rookie year while Stewart completed an impressive 97 percent of his laps. They won two championships in their decade together.
Zipadelli stayed at Joe Gibbs Racing when Stewart left to become his own team owner, and the crew chief was paired with 18-year-old hotshot Joey Logano.