Thursday, February 13, 2014

Patrick On Petty: "I Like That People Have Opinions"

Danica Patrick took the high road today in response to widely publicized comments by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty that the Stewart Haas Racing driver could win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race “(only) if everybody else stayed home.”
Asked if she takes such criticism to heart, Patrick said, “I really don't. I like that people have opinions. That is fine with me. I think that it creates conversation. As I said the last time somebody said something that was not so positive for me, it spawned so many positive articles.”
The “somebody” Patrick referred to was Kyle Petty, son of Richard Petty, who said last year that Patrick “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." 
Patrick insisted that while the criticism may sting, “there's a positive side to it, too. More than anything, I love the conversation that it creates in sport. Across the board, it makes sports interesting. It makes life interesting when people have different perspectives, and that's fine with me.
Asked if Richard Petty’s comments stemmed from a generational issue, Patrick said, “I can't speak to that, I was born in the '80s.” She also said she has no plans to speak to the 200-time NASCAR winner about his comments, adding, “I don't know why I would.” 
 She said Kyle Petty sought her out after last year’s comments, and the two had a “lengthy” conversation.
“I came to the conclusion that everybody does have their opinion, and that is totally fine,” she said. “Even if some of the things that came across weren't completely accurate, there were things that I didn't quite understand from the comments that I learned (about). 
“It really just doesn't matter,” she insisted. “It's an interesting conversation and I'm fortunate I'm in it. 
While admitting she has been judged more harshly in NASCAR than she was early in her IndyCar career, Patrick said, “In IndyCar, I had probably a faster start. I started on the front row of Motegi and finished fourth, then just about qualified on the pole and just about won the Indy 500 my first year.
“That was race number four in IndyCar, so I had a fast start.” 
She said NASCAR is more competitive from top to bottom than IndyCar, adding, “Not only are the drivers very good, but also the teams are extremely competitive. I don't think that any one of them sit still. There's no normal ranking of teams, it goes up and down among many. There are 43 cars -- not 23 cars – and it's just extremely competitive. 
“Also, stock cars are not my background,” reminded Patrick. “I've done two full years; one in Nationwide and one in Cup. I still feel like I'm figuring stock cars out, and will for a long time. I will never stop learning.”
Patrick also said she likes her chances in next Sunday’s Daytona 500; a race she was in position to win a year ago before falling back on the final lap and finishing eighth.
“My team builds great speedway cars and I feel much more comfortable (than last year),” she said. “This is much more familiar to me than the rest of the racing in a stock car, because (at most tracks) you're learning how the car reacts to how the bump-stops work, how the track bar works, how different spring packages work. 
That's not a concern on the speedways. It's just about navigating the cars around you and drafting. (It’s about your mindset throughout the whole thing, your discipline. So I feel like it could definitely happen.” 


  1. Anonymous7:37 PM



  2. I love watching the NASCAR season unfold with the number of different personalities found at the track. It's part of what makes it so interesting. I also believe that Richard Petty, Danica Patrick, or anyone else for that matter can have their own opinions and should not be tarred and feathered for voicing them. The only thing I don't care for is NASCAR's apparent stance on the issue but then again, this is just my opinion.

    Denny Hamlin made a comment at the beginning of last season stating that the Gen 6 car still needed some work. If memory serves me correctly- NASCAR acted harshly and swiftly stating that Denny would be fined for making comments that were detrimental to the sport.

    Fast forward a year- and Mr. Petty makes a comment that one of NASCAR's stars, one they heavily promote, will not win a race unless everyone else stays home. In my opinion, a comment like that is more detrimental to the sport than saying their new car still had a few bugs to work out. Taking gender totally out of the equation, inadvertently stating that NASCAR doesn't provide a competative field is a far more detrimental statement. Danica came in 27th in points- meaning she did better than many individuals. Saying that she can't win a race doesn't speak well for the many other drivers that finish behind her on any given weekend.

    In no way am I saying Petty should be fined and I like Danica's response to the comments. In 2013, Denny was calling it like he saw it and I in no way took it as a comment that was negative to the sport. I just thought it was funny that Mr. Petty knocked one of the most prominate faces of today's NASCAR along with everyone that finishes behind her and it goes without a second glance. Not only did NASCAR not feel Petty's comments were negative to the sport- they promote what Richard Petty said by writing an article for it on their website! Wouldn't someone saying that essentailly half the field can't win a race be a detrimental statement against the sport? I took it that way so I can only assume I am not the only one.

    I just think NASCAR has different priorities when it comes to "protecting its brand". I don't agree with them and I believe their many inconsistencies over the years have hurt them far worse than any comments I've heard after a race.

  3. I don't think Richard should be "tarred and feathered" for being correct......
    Just look at her stats and her pathetic performance at the sprint unlimited..
    She's picked up this season right where she left off the last.....