Danica Patrick is finding it hard to set exact goals for herself this season, her first full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. Instead she's just going to focus on understanding the new sixth-generation Cup Series car and strive to make it to the end of races.
Patrick previewed her 2013 season during a press conference prior to the Go Daddy Bowl football game on Sunday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
"I think you set the intention to do well and to learn to continue to improve throughout the season but since it’s the first year and with a new car, I think it’s hard to set exact goals," Patrick said. "I think it is important that we start the season and see how we’re running. I think the tracks make a difference – some tracks are easier on a new driver than others."
Patrick dismissed the notion that her stardom and mass-market appeal has placed a huge target on her back. She joked that some cars – Juan Pablo Montoya’s specifically – actually has a target logo and legitimately answered by saying the Sprint Cup Series garage does a good job of policing itself while on the track.
"We all have a target – don’t we," she quipped. "Everyone has the same ability to bump each other and that’s where it comes down to how much we respect each other and learned to race around each other. If you don’t play fairly, they can come right back at you and probably in a bigger way."
Patrick was involved in major accidents in four of her 10 Sprint Cup Series starts last season and really wants to see that percentage improve in 2013.
"Races are really long at the Sprint Cup Series level," Patrick said. "You spend a lot of the race just getting to the end of the race. The last 30-to-40 laps get really exciting… That’s just something I have to adapt to in the Sprint Cup. Everyone at the level is also extremely talented."
Patrick was also unaware that Larry the Cable guy was a fan of NASCAR and expressed dissatisfaction that she had missed his appearance at the Mobile Mayor’s Luncheon on Friday at the city’s convention center.
The popular comedian-turned-actor recently attended the Talladega Sprint Cup Series race weekend in October and joked about missing his favorite driver. The two just keep missing each other.
"It’s a bummer that I missed him and that he couldn’t stay for the game," Patrick said. "I believe he spoke at the mayor’s luncheon and I’m sure he did a real good job and was funny as heck."
Patrick returned to the Go Daddy Bowl for the first time since 2011 and served a variety of roles including grand marshal for Saturday's Go Daddy Bowl Parade and witness to the pregame coin flip for the game between Arkansas State and Kent State.
Her appearance was designed to provide exposure for her annual Go Daddy Super Bowl commercial, which will see her co-star with supermodel Bar Refaeli. The commercial will mark Patrick’s 12th Super Bowl appearance with the domain register – more than any celebrity in TV history, Go Daddy said.
Patrick will drive the Go Daddy No. 10 Chevrolet for Stewart-Hass Racing in the Sprit Cup Series beginning at the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 24.
Below is a complete video of the press conference:
Danica Patrick previews 2013 season at GoDaddy Bowl (via Matt Weaver)Follow @MattWeaverSBN