Some would argue that it is only a matter of time before 31-year-old Danica Patrick becomes the first ever woman to win a NASCAR race. Patrick became the first woman to win the pole at Daytona last year and went on to finish eighth, which was the only top-10 finish of her career. Legendary stock car driver Richard Petty can’t envision it getting much better than that.
During an interview with Norris McDonald at the Canadian Motorsports Expo on Sunday, Petty was asked if he thinks Patrick will ever find herself celebrating on Victory Lane.
“(Only) if everybody else stayed home,” he said, via the Canadian website Wheels. “If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track. 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.”
The 76-year-old Petty is a part owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, so any attention the sport receives can be seen as a positive for him. Petty’s son Kyle had even harsher criticism of Patrick last year when he called her a “marketing machine” but said she will never be a race car driver.
For whatever reason, the Pettys don’t seem to like or respect Danica. I’m sure those feelings are mutual.