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Richard Petty on Danica Patrick: ‘I am not a sexist by any means,’ comments were good publicity for sport

Feb 16, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT

Richard Petty AP

This kind of got lost in the shuffle of Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited, but it still bears repeating.

A week after Richard Petty said the only way Danica Patrick would win a Sprint Cup race was “if everybody else stayed home,” he reiterated Saturday before the Unlimited that he should not have been criticized for his comments.

And although he may be old school conservative, Petty even went so far as to insist that by no means is he sexist — which he was roundly accused of by fans and media — for making his comments about Patrick.

“What I said is what I said, and that’s what I believe, okay?” Petty told ESPN.com. “What’s unfair is the sexist part. If her name had been Danny, okay, nobody would have said anything about it. So y’all (media and fans) are bringing up the sexist part of it, not me.

“It was definitely not sexist, okay? Hey look, I’ve been married 55 years to the same woman. So I am not a sexist by any ways. I love women.”

It was at last week’s Canadian Motorsports Expo that The King, winner of 200 career Cup races and seven Cup championships, got tongues a-waggin’ with his observations on Patrick.

In addition to his comment about her chance to win a race, Petty added, “If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a racetrack. … 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.”

And that’s kind of what Petty did with his most recent comments Saturday. No matter if positive or negative, his comments both last week and Saturday still generated public comment and brought NASCAR a boatload of publicity and attention from both media and fans.

“There was nothing going on (in) NASCAR racing,” Petty said of when he made his comments in Canada. “Nobody was talking about Daytona,” he said. “Nobody was talking about nothing. Look at all the publicity NASCAR got and she got just for one little comment.”

Patrick thus far has not responded — yet again.

It would appear The King wants — and likely will get — the final word in this whole incident.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. indycar02 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    KiNG RICHARD FOR PRESIDENT!………..

  2. mrsfoxxe - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    Patrick brings a lot of the remarks she gets on her self!

    • mpzz - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:55 PM

      Yeah, blame the woman! Danica has stayed above the fray on this. And if Petty says he didn’t say it because she’s a woman, why hasn’t he ever made a big pronouncement about all the male drivers in the past who have driven in far more races than Danica and never won?

  3. barrylibby - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Regardles of the sport the “Kings “of each share one responsibility.
    What ever they do and say it should show a level of class indicative of their stature !

    The France organization doesn’t need any help in the PR department!

  4. onbucky96 - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    IF Danica ever wins a Sprint Cup race, let’s ask The King about it. Until then, can we move on?

  5. driving54 - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    I admired Richards Petty’s driving for years but just because you’ve been married for 55 years doesn’t mean you are not sexist and don’t think women should stay barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. Give her a chance! She is still a rookie in Nascar.She has won a pole and led a race.She did well in open wheel racing at way higher speeds than Nascar. Take a look at her driving through the wreck at Sprint Unlimited, that was skill.

  6. charger383 - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    Football and baseball do not have a woman playing other sports have woman’s leagues,
    NASCAR has Danica at the top level but she is below the Mendoza Line

  7. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    It’s sad when people get all butt-hurt about the truth.

  8. biggdaddy007 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:00 AM

    Her big win in indy came when all the big dogs were in longbeach the year of the split funny how people forget to remeber that little fact

  9. rt3tech - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:16 AM

    Male or female, Danica is a mediocre driver. Unlikely to ever win. You can tell by her timid, extremely unaggressive driving style. She gets in formation and white-knuckle grips the steering wheel to hold formation. I totally agree with Petty.

    • mpzz - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      You have one of those super-duper HHHDDD TV’s that can see the whites of her knuckles while she’s in her car racing, huh?
      Grow some stones.

  10. dtrain17 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    You could say half the field will never win. Petty lives up to the meaning of his last name. Old School Conservative? How about old school onset of chauvanist. Everyone is entitled to their opinion even if it’s wrong.

  11. provguard - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Only time will tell, but I have more faith in Richard Petty than most drivers. Patrick is just a gimmick by NASCAR to make money. Montoya is the male version of Patrick in my opinion…

  12. biggdaddy007 - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:53 AM

    montoya like patrick yeah right he’s won more against better drivers

  13. worknman24hours - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    I have all the respect in the world for Richard Petty.

    Danica Patrick too for that matter.

    He can say what he wants like he wants to say it-this is the U.S.A.-and the King paid his dues for a hell of a lot of races for a heck of a lot of decades.

    Anyone goes at the King he’s going to go through a hell of a lot of us first.

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