Saturday, September 29, 2012
Updated: October 1, 12:30 PM ET
Plans in place for Danica's pit crew
By David Newton
DOVER, Del. -- Plans are in place for Danica Patrick to be paired with crew chief Tony Gibson and the rest of Ryan Newman's pit crew when she moves into the Sprint Cup Series fulltime in 2013.
Gibson said on Saturday at Dover International Speedway that he and his team have been asked to make the switch. He was unsure who would work with Newman.
This will give Patrick one of the garage's more veteran crews.
"She needs a team that is really solid,'' Gibson said. "We've been together 11 years. We've been through Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Regan Smith and Aric Almirola. No matter what, this team sticks together and we're a solid group of guys.
"That's what she needs. She needs somebody she can fall back on and know the guys are behind her, and know it's not a group of guys that don't have a lot of experience. I think it's a great fit.''
That Gibson's style is similar to that of Tony Eury Jr., who was Patrick's crew chief in the Nationwide Series at JR Motorsports until he recently announced he was leaving, figured into the decision.
"That has a lot to do with it,'' Gibson said. "She had a lot of good history with Tony Jr. and they were building momentum. I think pairing her up with us goes along that same lines of the redneck style of racing mixed in with a lot of engineering.
"It fits her driving style and the approach she's taking to this sport.''
Sunday's race at Dover will be Patrick's seventh in a Cup car this season. Her best finish was 25th at Chicago, but she was running in the top 20 at Bristol before being wrecked late.
"The biggest thing she needs is somebody to support her and be behind her 150 percent,'' Gibson said. "Obviously, there's going to be some rough spots, but there's going to be some good spots.
"We saw at Bristol she can drive the s--- out of a racecar. It's just a matter of getting her in the right stuff and believing in her.''
Patrick is 11th in the Nationwide Series with four finishes inside the top 15 in her last five races before Saturday. She was in line for several more good finishes were it not for misfortune, much not of her doing.
"We sat down with all the guys and they're pumped up, ready to go,'' Gibson said. "Anytime you get a new driver you're excited because the opportunity is through the roof ... with her especially.
"We can't wait to get our first top 10 and first top 5 with her.''
Gibson said there was no hesitation by him or his crew when approached with the opportunity.
"Everyone of my guys, we sat down and talked about it even before we decided to do this and asked them what they thought about it,'' Gibson said. "It took them 10 seconds to say, 'Hell, yeah, we're going with you man. We're on it. We're ready to roll.'
"The biggest thing is me and Tony Jr., our style is a lot alike. That comforts her a little bit. It's a good fit.''
The biggest thing she needs is somebody to support her and be behind her 150 percent. Obviously, there's going to be some rough spots, but there's going to be some good spots.
-- Crew chief Tony Gibson