Patrick stands by decision to wreck Cassill

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Two weeks after Danica Patrick crashed Landon Cassill at the Sprint Cup race in Kansas, the rookie Sprint Cup driver has one regret.

She didn’t do a better job of spinning Cassill.

“Reflecting back on Kansas the Nationwide race was fantastic, the Cup race we were coming along during the race and obviously it didn’t end the way I would have wanted it to but I still think it was important for me to stand up for myself and I wouldn’t change it,” Patrick said on Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway. “I would change my execution of the actual incident. I didn’t do a very good job with that. I guess there’s only one way to learn is to try. It’s just not that easy to take someone out.”

Patrick will race in both the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

In Kansas, Patrick hit Cassill on Lap 155 of the race and took the blame immediately after the race. Patrick was upset that Cassill hit her on the front straight earlier in the race and retaliated.

“I think it was an important step in earning respect and moving forward is to stand up for myself and hopefully we won’t have to do much of that anymore,” said Patrick, who showed up at Texas Motor Speedway Thursday wearing a Texas-sized belt buckle emblazoned with her name on it.

Cassill said Patrick was holding him up and crowding her, which led to the contact.

Cassill, who remained in the race and finished 18th, texted her an apology following the race but Patrick did not respond. She said he had no plans to apologize to Cassill.

“I’ve left it,” said Patrick, who finished 32nd at Kansas and wrecked the car the team planned to run in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500. “If he wants to talk to me, that’s fine. I really don’t have much to say I guess. I think actions speak louder than words.”

Patrick will have a new crew chief for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race in Tony Gibson. He replaced Greg Zipadelli, who was critical of Patrick wrecking Cassill at Kansas.

“Zippy’s been a fantastic crew chief for me,” said Patrick, who honored area elementary school students at TMS as part of the track’s Speeding to Read program. “He’s got tons of experience. All I really could do is listen and try to learn from him. Now with the change to Tony Gibson, I feel like he’s always listened to me. He’s been really respectful and I get along with him great. He almost has a little bit of that Tony (Eury) Jr. characteristic of good ol’ boy. But he’s very smart. He’s a really sharp guy and I look forward to getting on with our relationship. We have a big job ahead of us.”