Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty believes that Danica Patrick’s has no chance of winning in the Sprint Cup Series, calling her just “a good PR” for racing.
“If everybody else stayed home,” Petty answered when asked about Patrick’s chances of winning. “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,” he added.
Petty’s statement has basis, some believe, as Patrick finished 27th in the Sprint Cup standings during her rookie season, driving the No. 10 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Patrick’s only highlight came in the season-opening Daytona 500, where she finished eighth after becoming the first woman to win the pole for that event.
That is her only top-10 finish in 46 races at NASCAR’s highest level. Before that, she amassed seven top-10 finishes and one pole in 60 races over four seasons in the Nationwide Series.
However, Patrick is one of the most successful female auto racers in history. Patrick is the only woman to win a major open-wheel race, finishing first in a 2008 IndyCar Series race in Japan. She has six top-10s in the Indy 500 and was third in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman in that historic event.
This was not the first time that Petty commented on Patrick’s involvement in NASCAR. In 2006, he said that “I just don’t think it’s a sport for women. And so far, it’s proven out. It’s really not. It’s good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity, it gives them publicity.”
His son — former driver and TV analyst Kyle Petty — has been more outspoken through the years about Patrick’s involvement, calling her a “marketing machine” and “not a race car driver” as recently as this past June.
Patrick, however, just laughed the comments off.
“I really don’t care,” Patrick said last year. “There’s going to be people who believe in you and people who don’t. Plenty of people say bad things about me. I see it on Twitter. Some people want me to die. But at the end of the day, you get over that stuff and trust you’re doing a good job for the people who believe in you.”