StEWaRt-haaS RaCING NaSCaR DRIVER
“I’m excited. We’ve got a
new car, a new teammate
and it’s a fresh year”
2013 StaRtS hERE
e’re already starting our fifth year
at Stewart-Haas Racing and whenever
anyone asks me what’s new, the “new”
is obviously having the third car, the
No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS
driven by Danica Patrick.
Danica’s a huge asset. She’s already
proven that very early last year with us. We
know she can get the job done, otherwise
we wouldn’t have done this to begin with.
She’s got talent, and she wouldn’t have
gotten to this level if she wasn’t good. It
didn’t take long to realize she’s not any
different than we are; she’s just a racer.
What she accomplished in Speedweeks
– taking the pole for the Daytona 500 and
running such a strong, smart race – is
proof of that. Danica finished eighth in
the “500,” with Ryan Newman and the
No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet crew
digging deep to take fifth. As for me, I got
caught up in the early wreck. It’s a shame,
because we had a car I was happy with
and could pass with. But that’s Daytona.
So, heading into the rest of the season,
where are we at with everything at
Stewart-Haas Racing? The first four years
were good. I feel like we came out of the
box really strong and I would have liked to
have seen us maintain that momentum. We
kind of leveled off a little bit last year, but
every organization has years like that. What
defines dynasties and race teams that have
success isn’t necessarily always having
good years, but how they deal with the bad
seasons, how they come back from that.
I’m excited. We’ve got a new car, a new
teammate and it’s a fresh year. All of our
guys are worn out already from building
our new fleet of Chevrolet SS Gen- 6 cars,
but at the same time everybody was
happy to finally get out on the road and
get down to Daytona. When new cars or
regulations are brought in, it can be an
asset to be a small team and it can
obviously boost the larger teams as well.
For Stewart-Haas, probably in the middle
of the road size-wise, having a new car to
work with is neither good nor bad…or
we’ve got some of the best of both worlds,
Stewart’s win in
season opener was
the last-lap crash
that left many
fans injured (see
SPIN, page 16).
For the record, it
was the fifth time
in six years that
Smoke has won the
NNS’s biggest race
of the season.
DOES IT AGAIN
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/Na SCa R
Danica Patrick celebrates taking pole for the 55th Daytona 500 with her team owner, Tony Stewart.
so to speak. Depends how you look at it!
The car is very new for me as a driver.
Heading to Daytona, I’d only spent
two-and-a-half days driving our No. 14
Mobil1/Bass Pro Shops car. At Charlotte,
we discovered it drove really well, so that
was a pretty big plus for an all-new racecar.
It has a lot of downforce and, as a driver,
you’re able to be a lot more aggressive
with it. I’m not sure you have to have as
much finesse with it, so I think it’s going to
give more drivers an opportunity to run a
lot better with it. On the other hand, it will
definitely catch mistakes that they make.
But the new car is just one piece of
what we have going on. As you all know,
we wear a lot of hats around here. We’re
very excited that Eldora Speedway will
host the first NASCAR national touring
series dirt race in more than 40 years.
We’re sold out, ticket-wise, so it will be
standing-room-only when the race comes.
Roger Slack, our general manager at
Eldora, has been doing a really good job
to address issues before the event
happens, making sure we have an infield
care center and all the things that you
must have in place for an event of this
status. Anybody who thinks that putting
on an event is easy needs to go hang out
at that place for a while, because it’s a
full-blown effort — for a race that’s going
on in July, there’s been a lot of work
that’s been done already and it will
continue all the way through to the event.
That’s not all. At Tony Stewart Racing,
STP is sponsoring Donny Schatz and his
World of Outlaws car, and Bad Boy
Buggies – new to us – will sponsor Steve
Kinser’s Outlaws car, which is really cool,
and we’ll have Chevy Performance Parts
on the USAC cars. As for me, I’m actually
searching for a sponsor for my car. I’m
running more races than I expected to, so
I’m looking for a partner right now. I’m
hoping to run 100 races this year and I’m
very confident we can get to at least 90.
I’m just not sure we can get all the way to
100. But I’m damn sure going to try.
Follow tony and Stewart-haas Racing
on twitter at @StewartHaasRcng
30 SPRING 2013