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Stewart-Haas Racing drivers react to Tony Stewart's return RELATED: Full coverage of Tony Stewart incident HAMPTON, Ga. -- Normalcy for Tony Stewart may still be months or years away, if it ever comes at all. But his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates believe his return to racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway after his involvement in a tragic accident earlier this month at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that took the life of fellow sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. is a step in that direction. While some of the focus surrounding the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be how he handles once again sitting in the cockpit of the No. 14 Chevrolet for the first time since a 36th-place finish at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 3, his SHR stablemates are more focused on offering their boss -- and more importantly, their friend and teammate -- the emotional support necessary to return his life to some form of regularity. "I'm least concerned about the racing side of it," Kevin Harvick said Friday at AMS. "I know for him, that'll be great medicine to have some type of normal activity in his life again that he hasn't been able to have. From a personal standpoint, I'm glad to see my friend and be able to talk to him and be able to support him through what will probably end up being the hardest situation he's ever had to go through in his entire life. That to me is the most important thing, and I just can't wait to see him." Harvick and teammate Danica Patrick haven't spoken to Stewart since the organization announced Thursday that he would make his return to racing, but both are eager to see him around the 1.54-mile speedway. Given that the incident is still so fresh in the minds of everyone involved, it begs the question: Is he ready to return? "I don't think he'd be here if he didn't feel like he was ready," said Harvick, flanked by a Chevrolet SS pace car painted pink in an effort to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society's fight against breast cancer. "He's got a lot of great people around him and a lot of support." Patrick agreed that getting back out there is the first step in Stewart's recovery, a completely different and more difficult rehabilitation process than his reformation after a broken leg sidelined him last August and kept him out for the remainder of the 2013 season. "Obviously, time will tell how it feels to him, but coming back is the first step to seeing that something helps him feel better," said Patrick, in her second year with SHR. "I'm sure being at home and dealing with the thoughts and everything from the tragic accident isn't normal. Something that is a little bit normal, again, I'm sure will be helpful. "We all want to see Tony back in the car. We want to see him back doing what he loves doing, but there's no timeline on when you work through a tragic accident like he went through, but we're all here for him." When Patrick says "we're all," it extends to more than just those involved in the SHR organization. NASCAR has long been a large, extended family, especially when it comes to the close-knit community that exists within the garage. Over the past few weeks, many drivers have offered vocal support of Stewart, embracing their friend and competitor's character and demeanor. "I think everybody (in the garage) has obviously been concerned and wants to support Tony in every way possible," Harvick said. "It's just everybody has waited to see when this day was going to be and obviously Tony knew when it was time for him to come back to the race track and be a part of getting in the car again. So, we'll support him and hopefully get him running good and have a good weekend. "I'm excited to have my friend back. I don't really care about the racing side of it. I'm just happy to have my friend back and able to talk to him and hug him and support him. That's the part I'm looking forward to the most." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Darrell Wallace Jr. discusses his late-race attempt to pass Brad Keselowski, while Matt Crafton and others reflect on top-five finishes in the UNOH 200 .
The 'Outlaw' discusses nickname, brother, favorites RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Q: Are you a fan of NASCAR's colorful history? NASCAR has had a proud history, and I am glad to be a part of it. Being a champion comes with it a great deal of responsibility to remind people of the roots of our sport. Q: Do you identify with legends in this sport? If so, who? There are so many greats and many drivers I grew up admiring like the Allison brothers and Cale Yarborough. They were drivers who hung it all out on the line and threw caution to the wind --- outlaws like me. Q: Are NASCAR races too long? Yes. We need to spice things up with a street race, races in foreign countries and throw in a dirt track for good measure. Besides cutting down the length of races, we need to cut back the number of races. Q: What does Daytona mean to you? It's our Super Bowl. It's the most prestigious stock car race to win. Q: Do you like the concept of The Chase? Absolutely. It defines a regular season and a postseason like our other mainstream sports. Q: What are your top favorite NASCAR tracks? Bristol, Darlington, Indy, Daytona and Sonoma. Q: You've been in some dust-ups and calamities. What do you think after the dust settles and things calm down? Nobody likes vanilla ice cream. We all need a little flavor. Q: Are there certain achievements/victories you are most proud of? 2004 Sprint Cup Championship; 2013 Making the Chase with a one-car, 25th-place team; 2014 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Q: When you're at the races, what do you enjoy most? Going to Victory Lane. Q: What do you enjoy the least? Wrecking. Q: Which drivers do you get along with the best? Kevin Harvick , Tony Stewart , Matt Kenseth , Juan Pablo Montoya, Greg Biffle . Q: Where did the nickname "Outlaw" come from? A TV producer from New York City who was doing a short documentary on me. She heard others calling me that in the garage, and it became the name of the show and it stuck. Q: Describe winning Martinsville this season? This is one of my toughest tracks. There's no driver that I would have rather beaten heads-up than Jimmie Johnson . It was a great feeling to have brought home a victory for my new team only a few races into the season and setting us up for a spot in the Chase. Q: To many, you are the best race car driver out there and many people comment on your natural ability. What makes you so good? I owe a lot of credit to my dad, who taught me a lot about racing at a young age. Q: Most difficult thing about driving stock cars? The schedule. It's a long one. It's a lot of dedication by our family to make it all work. Q: Were you destined to be a race car racer? No, my mom was hoping I would be a baseball player. Q: Could you race Formula 1, and if so, why don't you? I believe I could. Not sure how good I'd be, but I'd love the chance. Q: Describe your relationship with Mr. Haas? We have a great relationship filled with sarcasm and humor. He's a guy I enjoy hanging out with. You never know what's going to come out of his mouth. Q: Of ALL racers, who are, in your opinion, the top five racers in the world? Michael Schumacher, Dale Earnhardt, Jeremy McGrath, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti. Q: Your goals for the rest of 2014? To win races and advance through the Chase. Q: Do you like The Chase -- and can you win it? I like the Chase, and yes we can win it. Q: What will it take to win it? Fast cars, consistency and focus by the whole team to bring their best game forward every week. Q: When you compete in Vegas, do you ever look over at the old Dwarf dirt track? Yes, it always brings back find memories of how it all began. Q: Favorite bands or musicians? Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, Aerosmith, Eurythmics, Red Hot Chili Peppers, DJ Snake & Lil Jon. Q: Last concert you attended? Poison. Q: Favorite TV Shows? "Survival Alaska" and "Dude, You're Screwed". Q: Favorite websites? The Weather Channel, USA Today, ESPN, FOX News. Q: Favorite stores? Bass Pro Shops, Gun Shops. I don't like to shop and buy a lot of stuff online. Q: Favorite brands? Monster Energy, Alpinestars, Panic Switch Army, 7 Jeans. Q: Favorite foods? Lamb chops and Patricia's homemade anything. Q: Favorite Movies? "Six Pack," the "Bourne" trilogy, the "Godfather" movies, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," "Good Will Hunting". Q: Favorite Actor? Matt Damon. Q: Favorite actress? Sandra Bullock. Q: Athletes? Boxer Manny Pacquiao, NBA star LeBron James, baseball hall of famer Ryne Sandberg, former Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher. Q: Favorite place on Earth? Cockpit of my race car. Q: Who is in your personal Hall of Fame? President George W. Bush, Cubs announcer Harry Caray, baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, Donald Trump. Q: Hobbies? No time, but when I can, hunting and shooting, driving any one else's race car . Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure? Sleeping in. Q: What sports do you enjoy watching and following? Baseball, any other motorsports. Q: Who would play you in a movie? Matt Damon. He already played me in "Good Will Hunting." Q: Something you always say? "What?" The delay always gives me time to think. Q: Between you and Kyle, who would win in arm wrestling? Me. I'm in shape. Q: Ping pong? Me. Q: A five-mile bicycle race? Me. Q: 100-yard dash? Me. Q: Checkers? Me. Q: Wheel of Fortune? Me. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Patrick optimistic, believes team can string together top-15s MORE: Danica pours out her purse for Us Weekly RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today For one of NASCAR's highest-profile drivers who is much more accustomed to making headlines and shining in the spotlight, Danica Patrick 's sophomore year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been relatively quiet and workmanlike. At times encouraging, at times frustrating. Consistently inconsistent. Yet Patrick remains enthusiastic and optimistic -- partly because her Stewart-Haas Racing team has proven to be among the best in the garage and partly because she is absolutely certain her stock car education has greatly advanced. Even if the scoring pylon doesn't always reflect the effort. "In general we've been running so much better, qualifying better, running better and just generally being much faster than last year … and I'd say in general, not having the results to show for it,'' Patrick said. "I feel like it's been a much better year, but in terms of getting the most points as possible, we haven't really done that. "We've had a lot of mechanical issues and it seems to happen when we're running well. There've been mistakes, whether it be while running on track or making calls or sometimes the pit stops are slow. I think if we can fire on all cylinders and not make mistakes and have clean weekends, I feel like we're a real solid top-15 car." Patrick spoke to NASCAR.com between practice sessions at Watkins Glen International , a day that started out with a blown engine in the opening practice and would culminate with a crash during the afternoon session due to a mechanical issue (shock failure) -- an extreme example of the rough luck her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet has suffered this year. But at 32, Patrick is experienced enough to know the hard knocks are inevitable, if tough to swallow -- especially when you are under the microscope as she so often is. Her transition to stock cars from IndyCar has naturally come with great interest and great scrutiny. But this is a no-excuses, highly driven racer who nearly won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie in 2005, and earned worldwide accolades again in NASCAR when she won the Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Award as a rookie in 2013 -- the first woman in the sport's history to do so. Patrick, however, is not the kind of person to rest on past accomplishment and has methodically worked toward a realistic set of goals: top-20s as a rookie, top-15s this season. But the patient approach aside, Patrick is at heart a competitor and says it's "go time." "I think you get more frustrated for sure, because you're waiting for it to turn and if it hasn't, you're getting frustrated that things aren't going your way," Patrick said. "But the positive side is that the hope is there and the speed is there when everything meets in the middle. "I think the team (has) … great drivers, so more help. I feel like I'm learning for that reason. It doesn't feel like I'm treated any different from the outside, but I really always thought people were relatively fair from the beginning anyway. Yes, people are watching a lot and everybody has opinions for sure, but I expect that I suppose." And Patrick has given them reason to believe in her. She led laps at both Daytona and Talladega. And with a third of the season still to go, Patrick has two top-10s -- twice that of last year. Her eighth-place finish in July's Coke Zero 400 equaled her career best finish at Daytona International Speedway. Her seventh-place at Kansas in May is what she considers her best race weekend from roll-out to load-up. "I think the cars themselves have been just better when they arrive at the track from beginning of the year but especially since the middle of the year,'' Patrick explained. "That's what happened at Kansas, that was the first full new car we got and I finished seventh and we had great night, great weekend. That was the start of those better cars and we've been running and qualifying much better since then. "From the end of last year, we learned that working more methodically through the weekend versus making huge and many changes throughout the practices has also helped us make what we have the best it can be. "That's a challenge in and of itself. I don't think you're going to move mountains with a spring change, so what you've got to do is maximize what you've got … it's more about just optimizing the car itself." Outside the car, Patrick says she couldn't be happier. That's evident to her NASCAR-best million-plus Twitter followers who regularly see photos of her life with boyfriend -- fellow Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -- and their puppy, Dallas. She won the Food Network reality competition show "Chopped" one year ago and earned USA Today's "Best Dressed" award as a presenter at the recent ESPY Awards. Beyond that, Patrick says she is also still committed to working on her fledging golf game, something introduced to her by Stenhouse. "I feel like golf might be a little bit like racing where you spend a lot of the time mad and frustrated and say, 'I love it, let's do it again,'" Patrick said with a laugh. "I'd like to see the results come through for the speed of the car and for me. It would be nice to qualify well and run well, to have good pit stops, good restarts and just a solid string of top-15 finishes. "And I believe we can." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nationwide Series regular will drive the No. 32 car for Go FAS Racing RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Joey Gase will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway in the MyAFibStory.com 400 on Sept. 14. Gase will drive the No. 32 Ford for Go FAS Racing. "I am very excited and thankful that Archie (St. Hilarie, team owner) and the entire team are giving me this opportunity," Gase said in a team release. "My Nationwide Series career started with Go FAS in 2011, which led to a great 20th-place finish (at Iowa). Hopefully, I can get another good finish with the team." The team currently has a couple of associate sponsors for the race, but is looking for a primary sponsor, according to the release. Gase is currently running a full Nationwide Series schedule for Jimmy Means Racing. He is 20th in the standings with a best finish this season of 11th at Talladega in May. In 66 career Nationwide Series starts, the 21-year-old Iowa native has yet to record a top-10 finish. This season, Go FAS Racing has used other six drivers in the No. 32 car. Travis Kvapil (15 starts), Terry Labonte (three starts), Blake Koch (two starts), Boris Said (two starts), Eddie MacDonald (one start) and J.J. Yeley (one start) have combined to run the first 24 races of the season. Yeley will drive the car this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway . The team's best finish this season was an 11th-place finish by Labonte in July at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule