Kevin Harvick: “I had 20 years on her when she started in a stock car — You are never going to make up that ground.”
In 2010, Danica Patrick began her transition from open cars to stock car racing. In 2013, he went full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing. In a few weeks, she will be making here final NASCAR start in the 2018 Daytona 500.
Danica Patrick made 115 Verizon Indycar Series starts, previous to stock cars. While piloting an open wheel machine she claimed 7 podiums and 3 pole positions in addition to a race win.
Since her first MENCS start in 2012, Patrick has collected one pole and 7 top 10’s. 53,460 laps later, she’s still behind the learning curve of drivers like Kevin Harvick with 175,697 laps.
But, it’s far more than just experience at the cup level. Each racing discipline has it’s own characteristics. When drivers come up through the ranks, they adopt a style around that type of racing.
Kevin Harvick explains a conversation he had with Danica Patrick…
Kevin Harvick on Danica Patrick
“You know, this is a conversation that I had with her,” Harvick said during the NASCAR Media days. “I had 20 years on her when she started in a stock car. That is experience, and the things that come with that, you are never going to make up that ground.”
“As long as I’m still racing, I’m going to be 20 years ahead regardless. I think it never is going to be easy to go from [IndyCars to NASCAR] if you are going to be at the top level of that sport for a long time because the cars are –]
“I have never driven an IndyCar, but based on everything I’ve heard, the characteristics and how you drive them are 180-degrees different. It has been very hard for a lot of the open-wheel guys to come over here and drive these (3,300-pound) cars. It’s the total opposite of everything they have been taught their whole lives.”
“A lot of the kids we have coming up through our ranks now have been in stock cars since they were 12 or 13 years old. It’s much different. I think you have to pick a path. If you want to race open-wheel cars and do those things, it’s probably going to be karts and into an open wheel series.”
“There are very few people that have been able to do them both. Tony Stewart and Montoya have done it the best in my opinion. Might be somebody else I am missing. But there have been a lot that have tried.”