The Official Danica Patrick Fan Site
Since we are heading into the last off weekend of the year for Sprint Cup and we finally received official confirmation of Harvick to SHR last week, I thought it was time to start the 2014 Silly Season discussion.
In the next few posts I'm going to summarize some of the key players but if I miss anyone or if you have thoughts on any of these please feel free to add and continue the discussion.
It seems what they are trying to do with Mark Martin is improve the communication between Danica and Tony Gibson. Mark is about the only driver that actually fits in Danica's seat so during testing he can actually drive the same car she is driving and confirm what she is feeling, or explain to Danica and Tony what exactly she is feeling. If he can help her as driving coach as well good. It's no different than the help Travis Pastrana has gotten over the last couple of years with Matt Crafton getting in his car to setup it and then coaching him from the spotter's stand during the race last year. Or Carl Edwards setting up his car this year and Ricky Stenhouse talking to him during practices to help him. And not really different than the help that the sons and grandsons of Nascar drivers have received.
I'm really amazed at how well she deals with all the hate she gets. The worst part about RaceBuddy is that stupid chat box on the right...the crap that is spewed during the race is disgraceful about all drivers not just Danica but she seems to be the focus for the majority (which does make me laugh a bit because they complain but they can't stop talking about her).
Donna Schwartz said:
I also enjoyed the part where he called Danica's ability to ignore the haters (my word not his) a "superpower". It really is so true. As I was watching Race Buddy for the Homestead Race, some idiot asked if Danica could race naked. My husband had to put up with my yelling for a while. Tony is soooo right that Twitter is out of control. Most people wouldn't say have that junk face-to-face, but they feel they can get away with it via computer.
In regards to Mark Martin's role... I think they intend for it to be a very far reaching role across all four teams and not just Danica. Based on some of the stuff I've read over the past few days I think part of his role may be working with all of the SHR teams to build toward more common setups.
I do agree with Scott that I think a big part of his role is just working on the communication between Danica & Tony G. I think Mark just doesn't want the title of Driver Coach even if he is going to do things you may associate with a Driver Coach...really just semantics. :)
I really think one area Mark can help Danica with is getting her to try other racing lines more quickly during the weekend... I think this is one reason Danica has been slower to adjust on the 1.5 mile tracks because many of them have multiple lines you can run. I think Danica finds one line and sticks with it, which is fine during practice but in order to find or keep speed during the race you may need to work on running a different line.
I hope Danica reads this site. After all the hate she has to put up with elsewhere, it should be good for her morale to read what her fans say.
Updates are flowing again after the long holiday weekend...
Jeff Burton will be a test driver and have some starts in a 3rd car for Michael Waltrip Racing #66... Burton will be testing for Vickers until he is medically cleared to resume racing and then Burton's first race in the #66 for MWR will be LasVegas. Only one race was announced for Burton and no sponsor has been announced. Michael Waltrip will drive the #66 in the Daytona 500 but no sponsor was announced...
Trent Owens leaves Turner-Scott Nationwide #32 to become Crew Chief at RPM for Aric Almirola #43.
The Jeff Burton to MWR is kind of curious to me since they are only announcing one specific race and no sponsor yet. Can't believe RCR couldn't have put together that type of program and kept Burton in the RCR/Chevy family. Have to wonder if this is another case of a veteran wanting to get out of RCR before the grandkids move up? The other piece could be if there is some concern that Vickers won't be ready for Daytona in February and this could lead to more races in the 55...
Swan Racing announces they will expand to two Sprint Cup teams in 2014 with Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman as their drivers.
Lots of rookie drivers in Sprint Cup in 2014...
Austin Dillon (expected to be confirmed next Wednesday, 12/11)
Justin Allgaier (not confirmed)
The mystery behind Jeff Burton has been solved... He has signed on with NBC Sports to contribute to their NASCAR programming in 2014 (most likely appearances on shows on the network) and will be their NASCAR Analyst on the broadcasts beginning in 2015 when NBC takes over from ESPN. He believes he'll run 6-14 races with MWR under the one year deal he has with the team.
I still wonder why RCR couldn't match that type of schedule but MWR is probably more flexible with the TV stuff since they are used to it with Michael Waltrip.