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NASCAR America: Danica Patrick says ‘you have to be selfish’ racing at Talladega

Danica Patrick believes the spontaneity of NASCAR makes helping teammates impossible.

Danica Patrick will have three teammates in Sunday’s 500-mile race at Talladega Superspeedway, but there’s only one driver you can count on in the unpredictable draft.

“I think you have to be selfish,” she said Wednesday on NASCAR America. “You know who shows that the best? Dale (Earnhardt) Jr.”

Steve Letarte, the former crew chief for Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports, agreed.

“I worked with two of the most selfish,” Letarte said. “Jeff Gordon used to enter the team meeting and the conversation was, ‘Hey, I’m going to apologize now because you’re all going to hate me when this race is over.’ And Dale Jr. kind of picked up on that and said, ‘No offense, let’s not even pretend we’re going to help each other, because I’m not sure how we can.’”

Patrick said that’s frequently been the case in her restrictor-plate races at Stewart-Haas Racing, particularly when the four-car organization was aligned with Chevy and tried to formulate plans with Hendrick.

“It would always fall apart,” she said. “It never happened, barely ever. I think if you plan too much, you tend to have misunderstandings and mistakes.”

Watch the full video with Patrick above.