Friday, June 28, 2013

Drivers Defend Patrick After Petty's Broadside

"I don't think she's ever going to be a race car driver."
NASCAR drivers weighed in today on Kyle Petty’s assertion that Danica Patrick will never be a race car driver.

Speaking on Thursday’s NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED, Petty said of Patrick, "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. I think she's come a long way, but she's still not a race car driver. I don't think she's ever going to be a race car driver, (it’s) too late to learn."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took issue with Petty’s statements, saying, “I have to disagree with Kyle. I think she is a tough competitor and she works really hard at what she does. She has run some really good races.
“On every occasion she is out running several guys out on the circuit,” Earnhardt said. “If she was not able to compete and run minimum speed, or finished in last place every week, I think you might be able to say Kyle has an argument. But she’s out there running competitively and running strong on several accounts.
“I think she has got a good opportunity and a rightful position in the sport to keep competing. She just might surprise even Kyle Petty.”
Patrick has struggled in her first full season of Sprint Cup competition, currently ranking 27th in points with a single Top-10 finish. Her only Top-10 of the season came in the 11th of her 26 starts to date. By comparison, Petty claimed a Top-10 finish in his first career start at Talladega in 1979, and managed  21 Top-10 finishes in first 80 starts. His first win did not come until his 149th career Winston Cup Series start, in his sixth season of full-time competition and his eighth overall.
Kevin Harvick called Petty’s comments, “a loaded gun,” adding, “This is hard to do.
Patrick is a target again
“There is really no good training ground for it anymore in the Nationwide and Truck Series because of the lack of horsepower,” he said. “It is really hard to understand what you need to drive these cars, and to be able to drive them fast. It is not something that is going to happen overnight.
“I don’t know that I would go as far as calling her `not a racer,’ because she has raced her whole life… on a continuous learning curve. She’s obviously dedicated at what she does to try and get better, and knows she has a lot of hurdles to overcome in a short amount of time.”
Five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson also defended Patrick, saying a Sprint Cup car has little or nothing in common with Indy Cars, where Patrick competed before moving to NASCAR.
“When I look at the vehicles, the way you make them handle, the downforce numbers and the mechanical grip… the Cup car has a lot of mechanical grip and very little downforce,” he said. “It’s just the opposite for an IndyCar."
He also said the style of competition is dramatically different between the two series.
“IndyCar guys and girls don’t (do) a lot of side-by-side racing. It’s like a restrictor plate track, running wide-open. It’s not the competitive passing and racing and fighting for position like you see in NASCAR, and it takes a while to figure it out."
Harvick said Patrick is “fortunate to have a sponsor that is willing to back her and take those learning experiences with her. Hopefully as the weeks progress, she’ll get better and better.
“I couldn’t imagine coming in here having two-and-a-half years of stock car experience, and expect to be competitive knowing what all this entails. It’s hard, and it’s not going to get easier. There’s nowhere to figure out how to drive them, other than on the race track on Sunday or Saturday.
“They are just hard to drive.”
Harvick called criticism like Petty’s “the unfair part of being really popular. In (Danica’s) case, she obviously has a lot of attention and things that come with it. She seems to have become kind of immune to it. I think she is realistic with her goals and understands that she has a lot to learn."
He also offered her some unsolicited advice on how to deal with critics, saying, “It is easier just to turn it all off, not read it, not listen to it. At some point, whether it is her, myself, Dale, Jr. or Tony Stewart; you are going to be criticized and you are not going to like it if you read.
"It is easier to just not pay attention to it.”


  1. Back when the King raced... blah blah blah. Every other word out of Kyle's mouth is the king this or the king that. Sounds more like a case of jealousy.

  2. Anonymous2:38 PM

    KP's first win wasn't until his EIGHTH season, and in 30 years he had a total of 8 wins. Not that memorable a career.

    To pillory Danica Patrick is nothing more than an attempt to direct attention to himself. I always thought Kyle was not that kind of person, but I guess I (along with many other) was wrong.

    There is no excusing his comments, they are petty (yep that too) and unnecessary.

  3. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Kyle is certainly entitled to his opinion - but sheesh! I agree with what all the drivers said in Danica's defense.

  4. Anonymous2:56 PM

    I believe in time she will win she's accomplished alot already and I'm glad she's in Nascar.

  5. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Kp was dead on.

  6. Anonymous3:56 PM

    Almost as good as the time KP made the statement regarding the legitimacy of internet blogs as sources of news. I think he threw satellite radio in on that one too. Do you remember Dave?

  7. I would have to agree with KH. With NASCAR allowing teams to practice again starting this year there is ample oppertunity to learn tracks, setups, and cars. DP is in her rookie yr. Let's talk more about this 3-4 yes down the road, then make a conclusion. But until then zip it KP.

  8. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Funny. KP never really amounted to anything in an era when the racing was much easier to get into the top 10. At that point you had very few cars capable of winning, and a top 10 was more a matter of your car maintaining speed throughout the race. In today's cup level, you have 10-15 cars that can win every week, and 25 that are capable of finishing on the lead lap.

    To compare his accomplishments with hers is just not fair.

    KP has always been one that doesn't understand the difference in competition throughout the evolution of the sport. I remember him getting all bent when someone said his Kyle Busch was getting close to the win number of his dad.

    Is Danica the greatest driver ever? No...and she may never be a "great" driver. But to she also isn't the worse driver to ever attempt the series. She is marketable, and she will have a longer chance to gain experience than some have had. Is that fair? Life isn't fair. Get over it, move on.

  9. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Why cant Kyle just keep his mouth shut, his racing legacy isn't much to write about. One of his wins at Dover was because 3/4 of the field wrecked. I was brought up if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything!.. I lost any respect for Kyle I had after those comments

  10. Drivers and fans have so readily forgotten that the newer talent doesn't/didn't have the benefit of all the testing they could pay for on sanctioned tracks. They forget that it used to be you didn't get into a Cup car if you didn't spend your life racing on stock cars on small dirt tracks and working your way up, racing those same cars on asphalt, until you got to Cup.

  11. Anonymous6:54 AM

    Kyle. Some things are for sayin' and some things are just for thinkin'

  12. Anonymous10:22 AM

    Think about it people, KP is right. Yes she is a fairly good driver but she probably will never win any races or a title. But yes she is a racer.

  13. KP has a point. In her entire professional racing career she has one win.

    Just one!

    Who keeps a professional ride with that kind of stat?

    KP won at Daytona the first time he ever sat behind the wheel of a race car.

  14. This is why modern debate and democracy don't work. Deny deny deny has become the accepted response when truth is spoken. The fact is Petty is right - she is a fraud and has done nothing to prove otherwise since she debuted in Indycars in 2005.