“She’s not a race car driver. She can go fast, but she can’t race.”
Them’s fightin’ words from Kyle Petty, former NASCAR driver and current analyst regarding Danica Patrick’s ability level in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
In an interview that aired on SPEED’s “NASCAR Race Hub” Thursday, Petty explained the difference between a “fast driver” and a “race car driver,” in his opinion.
“She is a hot commodity and rightfully so,” he said. “In a market where everybody that crawls into a race car on a Sunday afternoon in Cup racing is male; she’s the female. I don’t have a problem with her being a marketing machine – more power to her.
“She can go fast, and I’ve seen her go fast. She drives the wheels off it when she goes fast. But she’s not a race car driver. There’s a difference.
“Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. She can go fast, but she can’t race. I think she’s come a long way, but she’s still not a race car driver. And I don’t think she’s ever going to be a race car driver.”
Petty made similar remarks in 2010, to the Associated Press. At the time, he questioned what Patrick was bringing to NASCAR beyond her marketing ability, as she was transitioning from IndyCar into NASCAR.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”