|"It's good to be back."|
“It was a quick off season, but I’m pleased to be back in the car,” said Patrick. “I was happy driving to the track this morning. It started off a little bit slow. I had a vibration and they saw that the shift mount was sort of dragging on the drive shaft casing, or the drive shaft itself. Luckily, I shut it off a little bit early coming into the garage (and) noticed that the car wasn’t rolling.
“Sure enough, we popped up the speed chart pretty well (in the second run). It’s nice to know that the speed is there, so now we will just start with our test plan. They feel like they have it figured out what is going on… so we will get going this afternoon. It’s definitely good to be back in the GoDaddy car.”
Patrick called her 10-race 2012 Sprint Cup schedule, “a good warm up for this year. I feel like the switch over to Tony Gibson and his team for the last two races (of last season) was a really good change. I really saw some potential to have a good year this year. There will undoubtedly be really tough days (but) I know the areas that we need to work on. I think we are all really confident going into this year. We just have to be optimistic, keep our heads down and stay positive when it gets tough.”
She said this week’s Daytona test will be more beneficial to her Stewart Haas Racing team than to her as a driver, adding, “It’s really going to come from the team side. For me as a driver, there is really not all that much to do. We will see in bump drafting… what that feels like and the differences in pushing with these cars versus the old cars. The fronts of our cars are a little bit sharp in the middle, but they seem to be pushing okay. As far as just riding around by myself, I don’t really think you are going to notice anything. I’m not anyway.”
Patrick also confirmed that she will not run the 2012 Indianapolis 500, saying, “I am just going to do the Coke 600 (at Charlotte Motor Speedway). The team and I decided to focus on Cup. It’s going to be plenty of work as it is. It’s going to be important for me… to keep myself focused with the Cup car.”
She also said no final decision has been made on a rumored, 10-race schedule of NASCAR Nationwide Series events with Turner Scott Motorsports.
“I am not sure if that is completely set,” she said. “I know there have been some reports that have come out about running for Turner. We are definitely talking to them, trying to figure it out. We are definitely working on that, but there has been nothing signed yet. The exact dates, races and the sponsor have yet to be confirmed for all that.”