Danica Patrick gets early start on 2013 Cup campaign

Friday, Nov. 02, 2012

Danica Patrick’s 2012 Sprint Cup schedule is winding down, but in one way her 2013 season is getting underway.

Patrick will make the ninth of her planned 10 Cup starts in Sunday’s AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but it will be the first working with crew chief Tony Gibson, who will work with her next year when she moves fulltime to the series.

Gibson most recently served as crew chief for Ryan Newman, Patrick’s teammate at Stewart Haas Racing.

“We don’t want her to adapt to our set-ups, we want to adapt to her driving style. These two races will be crucial in gaining a head start on that so over the winter time we can make plans and do some testing and get further on down the road for us,” Gibson said.

“She has the capability 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 has struggled in the Cup series. She has yet to finish on the lead lap. Her best finish was 25th at Chicagoland.

Patrick said she looked forward to working with Gibson.

“What is really nice about working with each other these last couple of races of the year is that every driver has a unique way of describing the car and how it feels,” she said.

“Learning what that really means and how big a change you need to make to fix that is the kind of stuff that we are going to get a really good head start on now.”