And So the Journey Begins
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Feb. 10, 2016) – As the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season gets underway with the 58th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, a new journey begins for Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Chevrolet SS team fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
In August 2015, SHR announced the team had re-signed Patrick along with landing a new partner for her No. 10 Chevrolet SS team. The multiyear sponsorship agreement will see Nature’s Bakery and its signature tagline, “Energy for Life’s Great Journeys,” adorn Patrick’s car for 28 races this season.
New to the sport of NASCAR, Nature’s Bakery was founded in 2010 by the father-and-son duo of Dave and Sam Marson with a mission of making delicious, convenient, on-the-go snacks that complement health-conscious living and active, everyday lifestyles. Their lineage in the food industry can be traced back to the 1960s, when Dave’s father Richard Marson opened a family bakery. Growing up in the bakery business, Dave passed his passion and skills along to his son Sam, whereupon the two combined their knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to form Nature’s Bakery.
In addition to new colors and a new contract, Patrick enters the 2016 season with a new crew chief – Billy Scott. The Land O’ Lakes, Florida native joined the SHR organization after spending eight seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). Scott worked with a variety of drivers in his time at MWR and ended his tenure there as the crew chief for Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 team. While SHR is new to Scott, he is familiar with a number of members of the organization, including fellow SHR crew chief Rodney Childers, who he worked with directly for two seasons at MWR.
As Patrick and Scott are still getting to know one another, Saturday night’s exhibition race at Daytona – the Sprint Unlimited – will provide the pair with the perfect opportunity to develop their in-race communication before the start of the regular season.
Patrick returns to Daytona this year with seven Sprint Cup starts on the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In 2013, she kicked off the Sprint Cup season with a history-making run in the 55th Daytona 500. She altered the record books as she became the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the Daytona 500. She also became the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race, as well as the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green-flag conditions. Patrick went on to finish the race in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
As Patrick enters her fourth full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, she has her sights set on once again making history by winning her first Sprint Cup race. And making a run at the Harley J. Earl Trophy would be the perfect way to start her new journey with Scott and Nature’s Bakery.
DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Nature's Bakery Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You’re entering the season with a new contract, a new sponsor and a new crew chief. Talk about that.
“It does feel like a new phase a little bit. I mean, there are definitely some things that have changed. Obviously, having a new sponsor in Nature’s Bakery is definitely a big part of that. I think it really shifts the landscape of the things that I do off the track, as well, and just the pure look of what car I’m looking for in the garage. Billy (Scott) coming in is definitely a big change for me, and having a new contract is going to give us time to develop and hopefully have years of success.”
Talk about working with your new sponsor, Nature’s Bakery.
“Working with Nature’s Bakery is very exciting for me. Getting to know Dave and Sam (Marson, co-founders of Nature’s Bakery) has really shown me what great people they are and, of course, what great products they make and what great values they have.
“I feel like our brands align so perfectly, it’s kind of amazing. I feel like all you have to do is look at my social media to see how so much of what I do lines up perfectly with Nature’s Bakery. Their products help provide energy for your journey. For me, that’s going out on a hike with Dallas, doing Yoga at home, doing CrossFit and needing energy for all of that. And I’m always on the road and I need snacks that are quick and handy.
“They have big dreams and they want to align them with me and make them work with me. I think that’s very exciting for me as a brand because I definitely have things that I enjoy and stand for. They’re ready to embrace that and use that in the best way possible to get their product out there, get their message out there. And, really, I think all those things just back up the backbone of the company, which is about lifestyle. It’s using lifestyle to get the product out there and let them know what it stands for.
“I’m excited about that. I think in this day and age, authenticity is hard to come by but easy to recognize. I think people are going to recognize that authenticity as we go along.”
Your fans have grown used to seeing your bright green car on track. How different will it be to sport new colors this year?
“I think I’m going to be a little bit harder to see on the track since the car isn’t neon reflective but, hopefully, I’ll be further up in the field so it will be easier to see me because I’ll purely be on the broadcast more. Nature’s Bakery is a very cool brand that is so young, and it’s great. It’s always so fun for me to be part of a brand’s rise. To make Nature’s Bakery an extremely common, well‑known brand is the mission of the year. I look forward to being a part of that. I also think they’re a great brand fit for me.
“So, in terms of color, yes, there is no more green but, hopefully, people will start to associate me with the blue as easily as they have with the green.”
What is a realistic expectation for your on-track performance in 2016?
“I don’t know what a realistic expectation is, but I know what my expectation is. I’d like to just get back to where I was in 2014. We were solid in the top-15 all the time, had good practices and qualified pretty decently. We were just very competitive and running up into the top-10 sometimes. So, that’s where I’d like to get back to when the season starts and then be able to go from there. I think we’ll have a great year if that’s the case.
“With a new relationship with a new crew chief, you never know how quickly your dialogue between each other can develop. When I say the car is ‘3’ out of ‘5’ loose, does he know how to fix that the way it works for me? That’s not the same for every driver. So, I think if that can come along quickly, I think we’ll have a good year and we’ll be able to have some fun.”
You enter 2016 with a new crew chief in Billy Scott. Talk about that relationship thus far.
“Billy has obviously been with the team for a couple months. He’s really done a good job of learning as much as he can and learning the shop and all the things that need to be done to the car and, obviously, making his changes to the car that he wants to make. At our team, our crew chiefs are able to do that, and I’m sure it’s pretty cool for a crew chief to be able to call the shots on the car. So he’s been doing a lot of that stuff. Also, he worked with Rodney (Childers) back at MWR, so they have a relationship.
“Billy and I have gotten along really, really well so far. He’s a super nice, relatable, easy-to-get-along-with guy. He spends a lot of time on the shop floor, it seems, talking to the guys. I feel like there’s definitely a lot of excitement with the crew. Everybody just seems like they’re in a good mood and we have fun and we laugh. Some of the new people who are on the No. 10 car are really funny and I just feel like it’s going to make for a good year, a fun year, but just a good vibe. I think when you are positive and happy and have a good vibe, that rubs off in everything else. I think it just helps propel good results as well.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine