Danica Patrick continues to struggle in both the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup in 2012. (Getty Images Photo)
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Tony Stewart believes there's too much pressure being put on Danica Patrick.
Stewart's team fields Sprint Cup cars for Patrick, who will move to NASCAR's top series full-time in 2013. But he feels his teammate has been treated unfairly this year as Patrick continues her learning process as a stock car driver.
“I'll be honest, I wish everybody would get off her back and just let her go race and let her learn," Stewart said Friday at Michigan. "Everybody is putting so much pressure on her and so much focus on her."
Stewart believes as Patrick competes at track's more than once it will accelerate her learning curve. But he doesn't think the constant scrutiny is either fair or beneficial.
"Going to a place that you've been to is obviously going to help, but everybody needs to take a step back and let this girl learn and do what she is trying to do there," said Stewart. "It's kind of a double edge sword. It's been great from the publicity side, but for her, I don't know how she handles it.
"It's making me nervous having to talk about her all the time, let alone, she is the one that has to actually do it. I just hope everybody respects her enough to give her the room to know that weather she makes three laps or whether she finishes the whole race the whole goal is to just learn.”
As Patrick continues her full Nationwide Series season with JR Motorsports she is also juggling her ten race Sprint Cup slate for Stewart's team. The defending series champion has given her some advice but ultimately thinks she just needs more seat time.
"Go out and learn that is exactly what I told her," said Stewart. "It's not been rocket science. The biggest thing is every lap you run in a car the better you're going to get and the more you are going to learn. Even if you are running fifth or 25th you are learning something.
"The goal of these 10 races, which is exactly what we said back in the media tour, clear back in January was that these races are designed to give her laps in the car and get her more time and experience. The good thing is she is excited about it and that is the attitude you have to have going into it.”