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Danica Patrick responds to criticism from Kyle Petty

Jun 28, 2013, 8:25 PM EST

Danica Patrick AP

If Sprint Cup rookie Danica Patrick was riled up by Kyle Petty’s criticism towards her, it didn’t show on Friday at Kentucky Speedway.

During Thursday’s “NASCAR Race Hub” broadcast on SPEED, Petty commended Patrick for her marketing acumen but said that she was “not a race car driver,” arguing that the former open-wheel star was “the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs.”

However, it should be pointed out that Patrick has indeed posted a better average finish (25.8) against her average starting position (32.0) in 16 races this season.

“I just think that it’s funny how [Petty] said that I could qualify but I can’t race, because those of you that actually watch what I do would know that I can’t qualify for crap,” Patrick said. “In the race, things go much better.”

As for the matter of the amount of overall criticism she has received, Patrick knows that there will always be those that put her down (“You really think that I will silence naysayers? That is the answer — you don’t,” she said on the topic). But in her mind, all that matters is her own belief in her abilities and the support she receives from her Stewart-Haas Racing team.

“I really don’t care [about the criticism],” she said. “It’s true that there are plenty of people who say really bad things about me. I hear about them or I read about them or read them on Twitter. People want me to die.

“At the end of the day, you just get over that kind of stuff and all you can do is trust that you’re doing a good job and that’s all that matters and the people around you believe in you.”

Patrick will start 29th in tomorrow’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky, which will be her first Cup start at the 1.5-mile oval after seven runs there in the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2005 to 2011.

  1. sruud1028 - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Just keep doing what you’re doing, Danica. As a rookie in this series, you’re learning and getting familiar with the tracks and this size car. For Kyle to say what he said is just plain silly; he has spent his fair share of time at the back. There’s more to driving these cars then putting the peddle to the medal. As a rookie you need to drive smart, take car of your equipment, and pay your dues. Your as much a race car driver as anyone.

    Stan

  2. sruud1028 - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Just keep doing what you’re doing, Danica. As a rookie in this series, you’re learning and getting familiar with the tracks and this size car. For Kyle to say what he said is just plain silly; he has spent his fair share of time at the back. There’s more to driving these cars then putting the peddle to the medal. As a rookie you need to drive smart, take car of your equipment, and pay your dues. You’re as much a race car driver as anyone.

    Stan

  3. techmeister1 - Jun 28, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Patrick has her head screwed on straight. Kyle…not so much. Maybe someone pissed in Kyle’s corn flakes or something because his comments are ignorant and baseless?

    • mogogo1 - Jun 29, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      No surprise. She’s racing, collecting huge jack from endorsements, and when people hear her last name there’s no question who is being referenced. Kyle is trying to get attention and reclaim relevancy and has never yet met a stranger who didn’t lead off with a question about Richard Petty.

  4. bbk1000 - Jun 29, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    Who cares…

    Sure this is a sport, the way golf is a sport…the way bowling is a sport…the way pool is a sport….the way tiddlywinks is a sport…

    Danica is the Michelle Wie of racing….

  5. sportfan2 - Jun 29, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    It’s true, she can’t race.

    This girl is out there on the track hoping to win, hoping the cars in front of her will fail so she can sneak over the finish line. SHE’S NOT A RACER.

    But still making tons of cash, go figure.

  6. bbk1000 - Jun 29, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    I still would have entitled this “Patrick responds to Petty criticism”….a double entendre deal…or she could have said “I don’t respond to Petty criticism”….so many ways to go….

  7. florida727 - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Any realist would agree with Petty, although he’s the least qualified commentator to make such a critique. (His career was based solely on the accomplishments of his dad.) She’s not a racer. She’s a marketing gold mine. Any male driver with her results would be out on the street looking for a job. Seriously, what car owner would employ a guy whose average qualifying position is 30th and average finish 25th? Simple answer: none. She’s fortunate that she’s reasonably attractive and an anomaly in a predominantly men’s sport. I say good for her, but please stop making her out to be something that she’s not. She’s not a “star”. Not by a long shot.

    • ralphc1 - Jun 30, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      Many drivers are employed for their marketing qualifications [popularity] over their driving ability. Winning in NASCAR requires lots of money so drivers are hired who can bring in that money. Any form of racing is at least 80% machine and those machines cost money. Richard Petty won so many races because he was better funded than most of the other teams. When the other teams got more money he didn’t win very often. Nobody can win in a machine that isn’t competitive. Kyle Busch is a great driver who was almost out of the sport because of actions that were detrimental to his car sponsors. Jeff Gordon’s success was greatly influenced by Rick Hendrick’s money and a great crew chief. He hasn’t had as much success since Ray left. Jimmy Johnson’s success might be due to Chad Knaus as he sometimes is bad early in the race but gets in adjusted and comes back to win. Danica is late coming into this type of racing and hasn’t found the combination yet.

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