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Danica Patrick could take Newman's crew in 2013

Associated Press Modified: October 1, 2012 at 9:26 am •  Published: September 29, 2012

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Danica Patrick appears set to work with Ryan Newman's crew for her fulltime Sprint Cup ride in 2013.

Stewart-Haas Racing would like to ease Patrick's transition by letting her work with crew chief Tony Gibson and his team. Newman, who drives the No. 39 for SHR, would then be in the market for a new crew chief.

"I'm just kind of looking at what's best for her, surrounding her with the best people we can that are upbeat and positive," said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart-Haas Racing competition director and race strategist for Patrick.

Zipadelli said Saturday that all options are being considered and a decision could be made in the next week or two. But the move is all but official. He's been talking to crew chief candidates for 2013 that would likely work with Newman.

Zipadelli said Gibson's experience and upbeat approach make him a great fit for Patrick, who is 11th in the points standings in her first full season driving for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. She ran a limited Nationwide schedule in 2010 and 2011.

"It's easier to do that than to bring somebody else in that we don't know or know as well as we know him," Zipadelli said. "I think he'd add an awful lot to her and her program."

Patrick has made six Cup starts this season and will race her 10th and final Sprint Cup Series event on Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway.

She'll make her seventh Cup start of the season Sunday at Dover International Speedway. Patrick said she's a Gibson fan and supports the pending move.

"I've always felt like he listens to me when I'm talking and that always means a lot," Patrick said. "I feel like I get the respect from him. I think that's the culture that Tony Stewart and all the guys there create. Everybody's happy."

Newman has one win this season and failed to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.


TESTING 1, 2, 3, 4: NASCAR will let organizations test at circuit tracks four times next season to go along with the season-opening test at Daytona.

The organizations can pick the tracks where they'll test. NASCAR had banned teams from testing at circuit tracks since 2009 in a cost-cutting move.

"We feel like it's time to open that up and allow the teams to manage their testing and get back on facilities that host our events," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Saturday. "You'll see that as the year unfolds that teams will be moving around the countryside."

NASCAR will hold a test session for the 2013 car next week at Talladega. Pemberton said test will focus on the cooling and drafting packages.

There are also tests scheduled for Texas, Kansas, Charlotte, and Phoenix.

"We are developing this car and tires at the same time," Pemberton said. "It's something we haven't been able to do in the past. But because Goodyear has put the resources toward tires ... we're better positioned now to develop the car and the tire at the same time."

Team owner Jack Roush liked the move.

"As long as it's the same for everybody," he said.

The new testing policy is only for the Sprint Cup series.


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