Ever since Danica Patrick quit IndyCar racing to join NASCAR there have been questions about how she would fit in with the admittedly rougher, tougher stock car world.
Turns out Patrick is right at home among the good old boys.
The point was brought home on Friday when her new crew chief on the No. 10 Stewart Haas Racing Sprint Cup Chevrolet team — Tony Gibson — said he was an “old school racer” and that he thought he was a good fit to guide Patrick’s Cup career.
“It’s a good fit for my race team; we are old school racers ... and I think that fits Danica pretty good,” Gibson said.
Patrick piped up that, as strange as it might seem, she agreed.
“Doesn’t that seem funny?” she said. “I’m kind of fancy. I buy fancy things, I eat at fancy restaurants, drink fancy wines. Honestly I think it’s opposites attract. It’s just more fun.
“Just the personalities are just cool, laid back, get down to business, but still have fun. I think that is a great attitude to bring to the track every weekend. I feel like it gets a really good team to rally around them.
Patrick said she realized that stock car racing was her calling the moment she stepped into a tin top for her first NASCAR test two years ago.
“From the first time that I got into a car at Orlando Speedway a couple of years ago, I pulled out of the pit area to go on to the track and I really felt ... I was like, ‘oh my God, what have I been doing? I feel like I’m at home.’
“I felt comfortable and it just felt like I was where I was supposed to be.”
She did say, however, that after her first full time season in the lesser NASCAR Nationwide Series she still has a lot to learn about driving the more powerful, heavier Cup cars and she is hoping the learning curve will be made easier with Gibson on her pit box.
“I know that there is a lot for me to learn about these cars and Tony is extremely smart,” Patrick said. “I already know that as well as everybody who works with him.
“I have a lot to learn. I hopefully can convey exactly what it is that I need and be able to point them in the right direction.”
Patrick, a staunch feminist, said she doesn’t even mind being called “Babe” by her new crew chief.
Gibson already is calling Patrick “Babe,” which Tony Eury Jr. — her former crew chief at JR Motorsports — called her.
“I don’t really care what people call me,” she said. “Tony Jr. would call me ‘Babe’ and things like that on the radio and he would apologize. I’m like, ‘I really don’t care what you call me.’ ”
NASCAR IN NO HURRY
If officials from the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres are coming to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend hoping to get an answer to their quest for a NASCAR Nationwide Series race next season, they will go home disappointed.
The delegation, lead by Trois Rivieres mayor Yves Levesque, was to meet with NASCAR officials on Friday, but it has been put over until Saturday.
Also waiting to hear from NASCAR on a race date is Ron Fellows and his partner Carlo Fidani from Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport) in Bowmanville, Ont.
NASCAR officials, however, said Friday that there will be no announcement on the 2013 schedule for either the Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series in the next week.
There had been media reports that NASCAR would announce a Nationwide race for Trois Rivieres on Tuesday.
It is widely expected that CTMP will get a Camping World Truck race next season as Fellows and his group has been lobbying hard for more than a year to get on that schedule.
The Trios Rivieres team launched its bid only after the NNS NAPA 200 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was cancelled last month when promoters were told there would not be a Sprint Cup race any time soon at the home the F-1 Canadian Grand Prix.
Speculation is that Trois Rivieres could be in line for a NASCAR-owned Rolex GrandAm Series race, not for 2013, but for 2014.