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.