Monday, February 10, 2014

Petty: Patrick Can Win "If Everybody Else Stayed Home"

Nearly 40 years ago, Richard Petty toed a hard line against women driving race cars. Today, not much appears to have changed.
Speaking at the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto Sunday, the man known as “The King of Stock Car Racing” responded bluntly when asked by reporters if he could envision Danica Patrick winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
“(Only) if everybody else stayed home,” said Petty, adding that ““if she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track.”
Petty’s comments were similar to those made decades ago when Janet Guthrie attempted to make her mark in NASCAR. Guthrie made 33 starts in NASCAR top division between 1976 and 1980, recording five Top-10 finishes -- including a career-best sixth at Bristol International Speedway in August of 1977 – but never earned the approval of NASCAR’s brightest star.
"When I shook hands with Richard Petty, I thought I'd get frostbite," wrote Guthrie in her autobiography, Janet Guthrie; A Life at Full Throttle. “Later, he would be quoted as saying of me: 'She's no lady. If she was, she'd be at home. There's a lot of differences in being a lady and being a woman."'

Petty actually softened his stance in later years, expressing admiration for what Guthrie accomplished.

“She came in before you had any diversity deal,” said Petty in 2006. “She came in just as herself and done a decent job. She come in the hard way, because no one really welcomed her in. She said, `I'm here, I'm going to do it,' and she was able to get it done. You have to admire her for that.

"(But) I've still not changed my mind about women racing.”
Sunday, Petty said that while he believes Patrick is more flash than substance on the race track, her presence has been good for NASCAR.
“This is a female deal that’s driving her,” he said. “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.”
He said NASCAR has morphed over the years from “race time” to “show time,” with fans now interested in what happens off the track, as well as what takes place on race day.
“When NASCAR first started, it was racing,” he said. “Over a period of years, with what we had to do to get the fans to come, the first thing you know… the race is secondary. All the rest of it is buildup, buildup, buildup.
“It’s sort of like watching the Super Bowl,” said Petty. “It was a lot more exciting watching the buildup than the game. The game just happened to break out in the middle of a good party. We’re not quite that far along (in NASCAR), but in order for us to do what we need to do on race day -- the sponsorship and the fan stuff -- we have to do all this other stuff.
“It’s become a show-time deal.”


  1. Anonymous11:26 AM

    He's a bigot....... Has been all his life....Never want's to give any woman and credited..

  2. Les Woody11:44 AM

    He's speaking his mind, he's earned that right. Is there anything he said that wasn't true?

  3. Anonymous11:54 AM

    He obviously hasn't watched her run at Daytona. Maybe she will win it this year.

    1. We did watch her run at Daytona - she got a great racecar and did little with it. She's also wrecked at lot, not a sign of competence on the racetrack.

  4. Anonymous

    What is untrue about this statement?

    "““if she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track.”"

  5. Dan from NY12:04 PM

    He absolutely can state his opinion and has every right to. But we can also say by what he said 40 yrs ago that his opinion is that of a bigot towards women in racing.

  6. Danica is another example that the best sponsored talent and not the best talent are in the Sprint Cup Series. If Danica Patrick was a male named Don Patrick he probably wouldn't be in the Sprint Cup Series and definitely wouldn't be racing for Stewart-Haas Racing. Unfortunately, this will become the standard in NASCAR and not the exception over the next 10-15 years.

  7. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Harsh words!!! I love Petty. I love NASCAR. If he is only looking at her as a woman then that is sad. It will be interesting when" Danica WINS in the future what will be said about her. She has every right to be where she wants to be, and do what she wants to do. EVERYONE has that right!

  8. Anonymous12:30 PM

    can he predict the future....

  9. Anonymous12:44 PM

    what has Richard Petty accomplished in this sport since win 200. Nothing at all, trying to piece together a living, his son Kyle left with no fanfare, if it wasn't for money backing him he would be loooong gone, and that's the truth.

  10. Anonymous1:32 PM

    He is old-fashioned but he did give Guthrie some praise for what she was able to do. I can't say I disagree w/his views on Danica at all. As a female I feel she gives us a bad name. Focus more on the driving, Danica, instead of being focused on being in the spotlight.

  11. He is a redneck jack ass.
    I hope when she wins a race he is there.
    I have lost all my respect for that man.

  12. Anonymous2:18 PM

    He's right

  13. Anonymous2:49 PM

    if you read the whole transcript, it gets better. How come no one is writing about Dale Jr's. lack of talent? Just easier to throw Danica out there? Typical media.

    Quote from transcript:

    "Petty, who won 200 races in a career that went from that Toronto race in 1958 to the Hooters 500 in Atlanta in 1992, was outspoken on several subjects, including the new NASCAR Chase format that emphasizes winning (he doesn’t see why it won’t work) to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (he doesn’t have his father’s talent)."

  14. Anonymous4:03 PM

    I think this deserves a penalty from NASCAR. It would only seem fair since other people in the sport have made "jokes" about people based on race, color, or religion. While sex isn't a protected status per se, it is certainly in horrible taste for him to say the things he did, and they need to be penalized. If NASCAR turns a blind eye simply because of his past status, then it shows where their line is on promoting diversity.

    1. Anonymous11:28 PM

      I think you deserve a penalty for breathing what a stupid comment. They asked the man a question and he gave his opinion is that not allowed anymore

    2. Anonymous6:16 PM

      Based on the fact they penalize every other person who says something they feel is out of line, derogatory, or not in good taste, I think he deserves a penalty.

      Do I think giving your opinion should be allowed? Yes....but if you represent the sport and have a hard card (which I am sure he does), there are certain standards set for your conduct and they have a right to access a penalty. Can they take him to court and collect? No....he didn't break a law. But they can revoke his hard card.

    3. It's not even an opinion....It's more like the TRUTH.

  15. I bet he would have no issue taking her money to save his failing team.

  16. Anonymous5:25 PM

    I do not see where his opinion should count for much considering the drivers at Petty Motorsports could not win unless a lot of cars stayed home like 40 or so..Danica has real talent is she the best, no but she can get around a race track pretty darn fast..There are a lot of drivers in the cup series who keep getting low budget rides that are not deserving of what they get, they could not win a 10 car race. I used to attend several Nascar races a year now it is something I watch on Sunday afternoon and take a nap after a long night of serious dirt track racing. Dirt track racing is more exciting and real racing than the show called Nascar.

  17. Anonymous5:27 PM

    Without reading anyone else's comments, Petty needs to simply sit down and maybe go fishing, times they are a changing, and if you don't change with the times, the times will pass you by holding your bait.

  18. Anonymous7:14 PM

    I was never a petty fan but I am now !!!!!!

  19. Anonymous7:18 PM

    Tell um king.

  20. Where is Petty wrong? To watch Danica Patrick race is to see someone whose gender is her only credential TO race. She was handed quality racecars in Indycar and did little with a lot, with TWO different teams. Then she was given quality racecars in NASCAR and has done nothing.

    To Anonymous #16 - Petty's drivers have actually raced - Little Miss Danica doesn't.

    To Anonymous #17 - where are times changing? Women have been racing for decades and no one has gone anywhere with it.

    That Janet Guthrie expresses disappointment in her autobiography is pathetic because she did nothing to warrant respecting her as a racer, either.

    People had better stop falling in love with Danica and start seeing the reality that she's not very good.

    1. Amen....I don't know who they (her fans) see when they watch her race or look at her career stats.....

  21. Anonymous8:31 PM

    I now my comments don't mean much but I have lost respect for Petty! He should look at his own races teams which haven't done much of anything! Bottom line is this look at how Stewart's cars ran last year , none of them were burning the house down. When they finished in the 15 to 20th place area Danica was 26-35.. so the cars are were running poorly just that Tony's and Ryan's driving expriece gave them some higher spots with inferior cars. If they were finishing in the top 10 week after week and Danica was still in 25-35 then something is wrong.. I think this is the year she needs to step up and show she can do it or it will be her last. But lets see how all of Tony's cars run!

  22. she is a cash cow . a monkey can hold it wide open . remember any one can win at
    talladega and daytona.

  23. Anonymous11:29 AM

    I'll bet he still has a calendar hanging in his shop dated 1962. Someone should explain to him it's now 2014. However, it was his skills that were legendary, not his intelligence. Still respect his accomplishments.

  24. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Bet he wouldn't be so critical if all the Go Daddy money was sponsoring his team. I wonder how many times she has actually run better than either of his drivers. While all are entitled to an opinion, even the King should be careful with his remarks given how easily he can tarnish his iconic status in the sport. As an" owner" of a mediocre team calling out another mediocre driver doesn't show a whole lot of class. Even his remarks on Dale Jr. seem out of place given that his own son never measured up to the King's talent. Its been 30 years since he accomplished anything on a race track, and if it weren't for the hat and sunglasses I wonder how many people would even realize it if he showed up at the race track?

  25. She made it there because of her accomplishment all balanced with whatever else she could bring -- money, looks, name recognition. Just like many women of motorsports. Just like Sarah Fischer. Just like Katherine Legge. Just like Milka Duno. Just like Shawna Robinson. Just like Melanie Troxle. Just like Shirley Muldowney, Angelle, Sampey, and Peggy Llewellyn. Just like those Force girls. Just like Just like Janet Guthrie (who the King still says didn't belong).

    Getting a ride because you bring money is like everyone else. Some bring the money because of their looks. Some bring the money because of their parents. It's a balance between talent and money and the more money you can bring the less talent you have to have. Keselowski and Logano are the recent exceptions and even the first thing the did was to visit orthodontists and cosmetologists.

    You don't hear Petty saying anything about all the male drivers who were given top-notch rides from day one without having to start in a third-tier ride and work their way up to an A-level ride. Nope, when those drivers are handed a ride, he's silent. You don't hear him saying that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. has no business displacing Matt Kenseth. You don't hear him asking how Carl Edwards pulled down the most lucrative sponsorship (to that point) in Cup history when there were two 4-time and a 3-time Champion still racing at the top of their games.

    Danica didn't get her Cup ride because Stewart thought she was going to set the world on fire out of the gates. Stewart did what owner after owner had done before him. He signed someone to a big league contract because they brought big dollars to the team. Now he's giving her the opportunity to prove she belongs.

    Even he was only there because Lee was his daddy and even he only stayed there because he had the money to. People don't talk about how many races he had to run a year to get 200 wins. People don't talk about how the championship used to be based on how much money you won. People don't talk about how he benefited from rules that gave the season-ending Champion a leg up on the field the following year.

    Let's not forget, this isn't football or basketball or baseball. You and I could go get a NASCAR license and be racing by the end of the month. Richard Petty wouldn't say anything about it because we're not women. That is the period on the problem I have with what he said. He can make an honest assessment of her talent without saying she's only there because she's a female. Worse, he's saying she shouldn't be there because she a female. Petty doesn't care if she can race or not. He doesn't think she should be there because she's not a man.

    1. Tony, you manage several mistaken comments.

      First, Petty didn't stay because he had the money to; he had to literally rebuild the team in 1961 after they lost their racecars (and nearly lost Lee) in the two bad crashes out through Daytona's guardrails; they had to start from scratch to race.

      Second, I can't think of one example where the rules gave the champion a leg up on the subsequent year.

      Third, you missed Richard's point about mentioning Danica Patrick as a woman - the fact of being a woman is her one credential to race. You have it backwards - people are defending her because she is a woman; she is racing because she is a woman, not because she brings anything else to the table. She proved that again in the 150s today by teasing in the top ten and then plummetting out of relevance at the end.

  26. Kind of reminds me of one of the Indy guys, let's see, who was it, oh yes Michael Andretti, complaining about Danica getting all of the attention and long lines for autographs, while he and the other Indy drivers were pretty much ignored by the fans and media. Two year later, however, Andretti didn't waste any time signing her to his team, when he had the chance.

    Methinks if King Richard could pull it off, he'd have a Queen Danica in his stable.

    Rick in Indiana

    1. Rick, what did signing Patrick gain Andretti?

      The fact remains she has done next to nothing despite being given quality racecars in her 226 previous NASCAR/ARCA/Indycar races.