Richard Petty hasn’t exactly made it a secret that he doesn’t think Danica Patrick has what it takes to be a competitive driver, but over the weekend he reiterated his opinion by saying that he doesn’t see her winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup race anytime soon.
When asked at the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto over the weekend whether he thought Patrick had a shot, Petty answered, “(Only) if everybody else stayed home.”
It’s not that Patrick can’t race, says Petty; speed is definitely not the problem. For him, she’s just not a good driver.
“That’s where I have a problem,” he said on SPEED’s “Race Hub” last year. “Where fans have bought into the hype of the marketing, to think she’s a race car driver. She can go fast, and I’ve seen her go fast. She drives the wheels off it when she goes fast…she’s not a race car driver. There’s a difference. The King always had that stupid saying, but it’s true, ‘Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.’ Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. She can go fast, but she can’t race.”
The fact that Patrick is also a spokesperson for brands like GoDaddy.com–and stars in racy ads for them–is also troublesome for the veteran racer, who has won 7 Daytona 500 titles. But there is a silver lining, he says.
“If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track,” Petty said on Sunday. “This is a female deal that’s driving her. There’s nothing wrong with that, because that’s good PR for me. More fans come out, people are more interested in it. She has helped to draw attention to the sport, which helps everybody in the sport.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons